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Javier Marías was born in Madrid. His father was the philosopher Julián Marías, who was briefly imprisoned and then banned from teaching for opposing Franco (the father of the protagonist of Your Face Tomorrow was given a similar biography). Parts of his childhood were spent in the United States, where his father spent time teaching at various institutions, including Yale University and Wellesley College. His mother died when Javier was 26 years old. Marías's first literary employment consisted in translating Dracula scripts for his maternal uncle, Jesús Franco. He was educated at the Colegio Estudio in Madrid.
Marías wrote his first novel, Los dominios del lobo (The Dominions of the Wolf), at the age of 17, after running away to Paris. His second novel, Travesía del horizonte (Voyage Along the Horizon), was an adventure story about an expedition to Antarctica. After attending the Complutense University of Madrid, Marías turned his attention to translating English novels into Spanish. His translations include work by Updike, Hardy, Conrad, Nabokov, Faulkner, Kipling, James, Stevenson, Browne, and Shakespeare. In 1979 he won the Spanish national award for translation for his version of Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Between 1983 and 1985 he lectured in Spanish literature and translation at the University of Oxford.
In 1986 Marías published El hombre sentimental (The Man of Feeling), and in 1988 he published Todas las almas (All Souls), which was set at Oxford University. The Spanish film director Gracia Querejeta released El Último viaje de Robert Rylands, adapted from Todas las almas, in 1996. Marías, however, later wrote that the film adaptation was not to his liking and this resulted in a permanent estrangement between him and the director and her father, Elias Querejeta, who had produced the film.
His 1992 novel Corazón tan blanco was a great commercial and critical success and for its English version A Heart So White, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, Marías and Costa were joint winners of the 1997 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
The protagonists of the novels written since 1986 are all interpreters or translators of one kind or another. Of these protagonists, Marías has written, "They are people who are renouncing their own voices."
In 2002 Marías published Tu rostro mañana 1. Fiebre y lanza (Your Face Tomorrow 1: Fever and Spear), the first part of a trilogy which forms his most ambitious literary project. The second volume, Tu rostro mañana 2. Baile y sueño (Your Face Tomorrow 2: Dance and Dream), was published in 2004. On 25 May 2007, Marías announced the completion of the final instalment, entitled Tu rostro mañana 3. Veneno y sombra y adiós (Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell). It was released on 24 September 2007.
on Aug. 11, 2010 :
For anyone who hasn't read Javier Marías yet, the story in EL #4 is a great place to start. I loved "Your Face Tomorrow," Marías's trilogy. It's so difficult to find his work in English, so I was really happy to discover this story.
I also loved the story by Roberto Ransom, another translated writer, and you can't go wrong with Joy Williams!
(reviewed the day of purchase)