Every café has its regulars, whose conversation and habits help define the tempo and atmosphere, and who come to seem familiar, even "known" and necessary. In Javier Marías' fictional Madrid, one patron in particular stands out: María Dolz, book editor, elusive narrator, and soon-to-be keeper of an insidious secret.
opens with Maria's compelling memory: "The last time I saw Miguel Desvern or Deverne," she says, "was also the last time that his wife, Luisa, saw him, which seemed strange, perhaps unfair, given that she was his wife, while I, on the other hand, was a person he had never met, a woman with whom he had never exchanged so much as a single word." Indeed Miguel and Luisa were "The Perfect Couple," the husband-wife team who used to frequent the café at the same time as Maria, and whose daily routines she...
Beyond the Book
"A veces escribo para averiguar qué escribo" (Sometimes I write to discover what I write). So says Javier Marías—native of Madrid, and highly acclaimed novelist who has been widely tipped as a potential candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Marías is a translator (to Spanish) of authors such as Faulkner, Yeats, Shakespeare, and Nabokov; an essayist; columnist for Madrid's newspaper El País
; and member of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language.