Starting Over

Friday, August 25, 2006

You Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear

"How can I not know today your face tomorrow, the face that is there already or is being forged beneath the face you show me or beneath the mask you are wearing, and which you will only show me when I am least expecting it"

Javier Marias is a compelling and fascinating writer. Fever and Spear is the first volume in a novel in three parts. Light on actual plot Marias's novel relates the largely inner world of thought and conversation of his Spanish narrator, who has moved to London after breaking up with his wife, and is invited at an Oxford party to join a mysterious organisation whose day to day activities involve careful observation of how individuals present themselves to others and interact, in order to understand and assess character and future behaviour.
Fever and Spear tells a story in which Jacques Deza is invited into and starts to work for this organisation, but is really a discourse about trust, betrayal and the nature of human relationships.
Spanish Marias is an absolute Anglophile, but this (translated) novel bears little relationship to the English spy novel. This is a supremely meditative novel, with Marias provoking trains of new thought through meticulous passages of fluent, sophisticated reflection. There is a sense of subtle irony in that this books is largely concerned with the need to keep secrets (careless talk - and indeed actions - cost lives) and yet the inevitability of revealing them. If "Life is not recountable", then in Fever and Spear Marias refutes this with his attempts to get at the crux of lives and people.


Post a Comment

<< Home