2013: And The Winner Is...

on Tuesday, December 31, 2013
If only I had been born a hundred years ago. Maybe two hundred. Sure, I'd probably have died at birth, seen my family wiped out by plague, contracted some disease we haven't even heard of today or been trampled by an elephant while performing my daring trapeze act in an Eastern European travelling circus BUT I also might have had the incredible fortune of being there when some of the great classics were first published. Assuming I was lucky enough to get an education and wasn't just sweeping chimneys or shovelling runny shit from ditches, you probably would have found me waiting in line for the latest Dostoevsky, Hugo, Austin, Dickens or Poe. Then I'd hand-press pamphlets with my opinions and run around the streets trying to get people to read them. That's how bloggers rolled back then. Alas, it just wasn't to be. Or was it?

2013 brought me the closest I think I will ever come to experiencing first hand the release of a book that is destined to be read as a classic well after I'm around to rave about it. It was a book so profoundly moving, so perfectly constructed, so enthralling, that I was in awe from the first line. At its most basic, The Infatuations by Javier Marias is a murder mystery. A woman obsesses over a couple she sees in a diner. She doesn't speak with them but feels she has some deep connection. One day she opens the paper to learn that the man has been killed. Marias uses this relatively simple premise to crack open the world as we know it. What he has to say about human nature, about the way in which society functions, about life and literature is something you'd expect to read from one of the greats of classical literature. With The Infatuations, I think he just might have joined them.

And so, Bookworms, this brings us to the end of another year. Wishing you and yours a great 2014 with many happy hours spent glued to any number of fantastic books.


Theresa said...

On GoodReads, they've translated his name as 'Marxedas': https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19563819-the-infatuations?ac=1

I'm sure this is something to do with the Spanish/Catalan surname (or wherever he's from), but it's darn confusing. At any rate, I hope to read it in 2014. Thanks for the recommendation.

The Bookworm said...

Hmmm that's odd. I just checked it and it seems to work fine for me:
The only difference I see is the number. Perhaps there's a double entry. Anyway, yes, definitely get to it. It's just stunning!

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