Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Javier Marías

Javier Marías's new novel is Thus Bad Begins.

From his Q&A with Jonathan Lee at Literary Hub:

Jonathan Lee: You once said that “one of the best possible perspectives from which to tell a story is that of a ghost, someone who is dead but can still witness.” Do you see Juan, the narrator of Thus Bad Begins, as another kind of ghost—a “silent witness” in the life of the movie director he assists?

Javier Marías: I would not say that I see Juan de Vere as a ghost—or, at least, I see him less as a ghost than others in some of my novels. This young man—he tells the story when he is much older, but he is only 23 when the action takes place, in 1980—does finally intervene, unlike, for example, the narrator of A Heart So White. He is not a mere, silent witness, or at least not throughout the whole novel. His doings have an influence on other characters, even on their fates. In the end, you might say he is not more “innocent” than the rest of them. But in a way, yes, you could also say he shares some of the ghost features, in the sense that he tells the story when he is a very different man from the one he was. As if the man he was then is somehow dead when, perhaps in his fifties or so, he tells us the story. The goodness of ghosts as narrators is that they are people—of course, I am referring to “literary ghosts”—to whom nothing else can happen, but they still care for what they left behind, they are not yet indifferent to it, and somehow they try to...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue