The Infatuations (2011): Javier Marías


I’ve wanted to read one of Javier Marías’s novels for ages and this has been quietly sitting on my shelf, waiting. It’s a story I heard about years ago and which captured my attention: a young woman, breakfasting every morning in the same Madrid café, has become accustomed to seeing a married couple there every day at the same time. They are so much in love, so deeply connected and content, that she shyly adopts them as an ideal. But then, one day, they fail to appear and our narrator María reads with a shock, in the papers, that the man has been murdered in a senseless attack. Due to her fondness for them – her infatuation, perhaps, with the idea of them – she can’t leave it there. Now, given my high expectations for the book, I was a little disappointed. It wasn’t quite what I expected: more detached, more intellectual; a philosophical analysis more than a mystery. And the story’s several infatuations manifest themselves not as glorious passions, but as states of mind that can drive us to accept terrible situations as the norm.

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