The Spanish author’s death has robbed us of his unique, riddling investigations into reality
• Spanish novelist Javier Marías dies in Madrid hospital aged 70
• Javier Marías: modern literature’s great philosopher of everyday absurdity
Javier Marías won’t get the Nobel prize that many people, including me, think he deserved. No matter. He had plenty of prizes while he was alive. The greater loss is that we won’t get any more of his extraordinary novels. There is no other writer like him, certainly not in English. He was a complete original, at ease with philosophy and pop-cultural trivia, genre and literary fiction. He looked the great writers of the past, from many national traditions, squarely and companionably in the eye.
Marías, perhaps above all, was a profoundly cosmopolitan writer. He taught all over the world and said he did “not much believe in national literatures”. Translation was a central preoccupation of his life and work – he translated Nabokov, Hardy, Faulkner and Conrad, among many others. He was at home in Oxford and Madrid alike, and didn’t mind having a character notice a multilingual pun or tick off Lady Diana Spencer, in a slightly peevish aside, for her “awful, mistake-ridden English”.
This is what Tupra said in a fake accent which was perhaps his real accent, inside his fast car, in the lunar light of the streetlamps, sitting on my right, with his hands still resting on the motionless steering wheel, squeezing it or strangling it, he wasn’t wearing gloves now, they were hidden away, dirty and sodden and wrapped in toilet paper, in his overcoat, along with the sword. -- “That’s the thing, Jock. Fear,” he added ... Continue reading...