Dark Back of Time
By Javier Marias
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307950741, 336pp.)
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
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A book by Spain's greatest living writer weaves fiction and fact into a completely original and unforgettable hybrid.
Called by its author a "false novel," Dark Back of Time begins with the tale of the odd effects of publishing All Souls, his witty and sardonic 1989 Oxford novel. All Souls is a book Marías swears to be fiction, but which its "characters"--the real-life dons and professors and bookshop owners who have "recognized themselves"--fiercely maintain to be a roman à clef. With the sleepy world of Oxford set into fretful motion by a world that never "existed," Dark Back of Time begins an odyssey into the nature of identity and of time. Marías weaves together autobiography, a legendary kingdom, strange ghostly literary figures, halls of mirrors, a one-eyed pilot, a curse in Havana, and a bullet lost in Mexico.
Javier Marías was born in Madrid in 1951. He has published ten novels, two collections of short stories and several volumes of essays. His work has been translated into thirty-two languages and won a dazzling array of international literary awards, including the prestigious Dublin IMPAC award for A Heart So White. He is also a highly practiced translator into Spanish of English authors, including Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Thomas Browne and Laurence Sterne. He has held academic posts in Spain, the United States and in Britain, as Lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University.
"By far Spain's best writer today." --Roberto Bolaño
"The most subtle and gifted writer in contemporary Spanish literature." --Boston Sunday Globe
"Dazzling.... Javier Marías writes with elegance, with wit and with masterful suspense."--The Times Literary Supplement
"Stylish, cerebral...Marías is a startling talent...His prose is ambitious, ironic, philosophical, and ultimately compassionate." --The New York Times