One thing I noticed straight away with ‘All Souls’ is how a lot of the themes that Marias uses here are found in the rest of his novels. I mean this is common with loads of authors but it seemed so blindingly obvious with ‘All Souls’.
The plot itself is simple. A Spanish professor resides at Oxford for two years. He observes the world as an outsider and in the process has an affair.
What this book interesting is that Marias’ observations are super sharp and slightly humorous. Now and then it drags but on the whole I liked this book, dare I say even more than the your face tomorrow trilogy.
When I started to read the second part to Javier Maria’s Your Face Tomorrow trilogy, I never expected it to be so entwined with the first part, Fever and Spear. In fact the book starts exactly where it left off and more loose ends are being created.
At this point Jacques Deza is officially a spy for Bertrand Tupra and the two, go to a nightclub in order to to witness some people and check if there are shady under dealings. It leads to a night stuffed with debauchery, drugs, deceitfulness and other twists and turns which made Fever and Spear compulsive reading. Within this ordeal we also get more glimpses of events that happened in the past book and Deza reveals more about his past.
I did, however have mixed reactions to Dance and Dream, although it is not as meandering and contains more well rounded characters (trust me your view of ‘comic relief’ de la Garza will change) and there are some great action scenes, I have a feeling that Marias is the only author who can describe a head being dunked into a toilet so vivdly. I felt that the thrill contained in Fever and Spear was a bit missing. Plus basing a whole novel in a nightclub can get a bit tiresome.
Despite this the prose always mutates from humorous, sensual and gripping and is a fine instalment to this vast trilogy. The third part will be published sometime in Autumn and I am quite excited on how Marias will tie up this case.
Clearly the slump I suffered through during the Easter holidays is over!
This was my first taste of the world of Javier Marias and I was greatly impressed.
Your Face Tomorrow is the first part of a trilogy chronicling the exploits of Jacques Deza. As Deza relocates himself to England, due to a messy divorce he discovers that his powers of perception are better than the average person. This catches the attention of his former lecturer Peter Wheeler, who introduces Deza to Bertram Tupra, the head of an espionage unit. After cajoling both Tupra and Wheeler persuade Deza to joint this unit so that they can get information on government traitors. During this process Deza begins to learn that things are not exactly as they seem and makes some surprising discoveries about his new colleagues.
You could say this Fever and Spear is merely an introduction. Throughout the novel we learn about characters and, of course Deza’s (and his father’s) life before his move to London. Already we are sucked into a very complex situation, filled with twists and turns where nothing is as it seems. Part spy thriller, part biography Fever and Spear could have stood alone as a single novel, if not Marias inserted a cliffhanger which leads to Deza’s first case.
Marias is a very delicate writer and although one gets the impression that he meanders too much, there is a reason why he does for he ties everything up. Marias is not interested in chronological order and any biographical information is scattered within the book. The language (or translation) is a bit too flowery at times but don’t let it put you off the book itself. All I can say now is that the second part, Dance and Dream should prove to be very interesting.