Author(s): Javier Marías
**Named a Best Book of the Year by the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times**
From the internationally acclaimed author of The Infatuations comes the mesmerizing story of a couple living in the shadow of a mysterious, unhappy history--a novel about the cruel, tender punishments we exact on those we love.
Madrid, 1980. Juan de Vere, nearly finished with his university degree, takes a job as personal assistant to Eduardo Muriel, an eccentric, once-successful film director. Urbane, discreet, irreproachable, Muriel is an irresistible idol to the young man. But Muriel's voluptuous wife, Beatriz, inhabits their home like an unwanted ghost; and on the periphery of their lives is Dr. Jorge Van Vechten, a family friend implicated in unsavory rumors that Muriel now asks Juan to investigate. As Juan draws closer to the truth, he uncovers only more questions. What is at the root of Muriel's hostility toward his wife? How did Beatriz meet Van Vechten? What happened during the war? Marías leads us deep into the intrigues of these characters, through a daring exploration of rancor, suspicion, loyalty, trust, and the infinitely permeable boundaries between the deceptions perpetrated on us by others and those we inflict upon ourselves.
Publisher's description. From one of Spain's most acclaimed literary voices comes a rich and complex portrait of mutual deception, toxic love and cruel, lingering guilt. A youth caught in the middle of someone else's bitter marriage; a beautiful woman scorned; a man torn between conscience and will. Step into the melancholic, unforgiving world of Javier Marias. Penguin Marias returns with another masterful tapestry of noir-ish twists and digressive cerebration The Millions Elegant and beautiful, reminiscent of Proust... Magnificent Daily Mail One of Marias's most enjoyable and accessible novels Financial Times Marias is relentless in his pursuit of literary and psychological truth Sunday Times Ferociously addictive, troubling [and] seductive... It works as high literary fiction, constantly picking apart our assumptions about story and fiction, but also offering good old-fashioned plot' Independent A powerful study of history and memory from a literary giant Sunday Times Easily as engrossing as anything he's written before... He manages to tread the tightrope between a very literary fiction and an utterly absorbing plot The Times Alfred Hitchcock would be a home with Marias - but so too might Harold Pinter...It's a rare trick to pull off, this combination of suspense, analysis and metaphysics that aims both high at the brow and low at the gut Prospect Almodovar-esque New York Magazine On the page, he is expansive and unrestrained New Yorker A major work from a global talent, Thus Bad Begins knits Hitchcockian suspense into a hypnotic tale crackling with erotic tension and political strife... The personal is political, as Marias' powerful, wide-ranging, yet curiously intimate novel attests Minneapolis Star-Tribune Marias is a master of a kind of suspense that is rare in the modern novel NY Times Erudite, strange, hypnotic and beautiful...One reads Marias for his ability to make the smallest parts of the world come alive LA Times
Javier Marias was born in Madrid in 1951. He is the author of sixteen works in Spanish, which have been translated into forty-two languages including English. His translated English works are All Souls, A Heart So White, Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me, When I Was Mortal, Dark Back of Time, The Man of Feeling, Voyage Along the Horizon, Written Lives, the Your Face Tomorrow trilogy (Fever and Spear, Dance and Dream, and Poison, Shadow and Farewell), Bad Nature, While the Women Are Sleeping, The Infatuations and Thus Bad Begins. Javier Marias has received numerous literary prizes including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Prix Formentor, and he is the King of Redonda. He lives and works as a translator and columnist in Madrid.