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Berta Isla

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See our Remarkables Archive for some that are no longer in print, but which we are happy to try to track down. New Paperbacks NEW PAPERBACKS [jsb_filter_by_tags count="15" show_more="10" sort_by="total_products"/] A selection of recent paperbacks. It is a source of continuing regret to me that I’ve never been approached to be a spy – especially since I came of age during the cold war, speak Russian, and went to boarding school and Cambridge. How easy it is to be in the dark, or perhaps that’s our natural state,” Berta tells us, twice in the space of seven pages, after another of her husband’s inexplicable absences. A man, or woman, who knew how to omit would release a much improved novella from this 544‑page tome.

Dip Into NEW PAPERBACKS [jsb_filter_by_tags count="15" show_more="10" sort_by="total_products"/] A selection of recent paperbacks.Marías has been touted as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, this novel illustrates why. Marías’s characters tend to be preoccupied by philosophical and epistemological questions about the nature of reality, rather than their emotions or jobs. Here as elsewhere, the translation by Margaret Jull Costa has a lyrical flow, but she can’t rescue this sentence. Marías is often praised for his discursive, ruminative style, and has been compared to Henry James, Montaigne, Proust, Laurence Sterne and Sir Thomas Browne – he translated these last two into Spanish.

I still clung to the idea that England was different,” she says, reading up on Northern Ireland, as her anticolonialist instincts rub up against a fear that Tomás, who reluctantly admits he’s a spy without saying where or how, might become the latest high-profile British scalp. The couple first meet during Franco’s dictatorship in the 1960s as students at secondary school in Madrid. And that strange qualification at the end, “or perhaps some other feline”, sounds bookish and absurd. finest novel to date * Alex Clark * Compelling * Tatler * A twisty, thought-provoking tale that puts notions of truth and morality under pitiless scrutiny * The Guardian * elegant, discursive, persuasively vivid novel.Berta also shares the novel’s general astonishment at the unknowability and likely insignificance of everything. Berta, we realise, is becoming something she feared as a schoolgirl: someone whose story “did not merit being told by anyone, or only as a fleeting reference when recounting someone else’s more eventful and interesting life”. Elegant … Persuasively vivid … Marías knows that espionage depends on lies and weasely versions of the truth; that sometimes the false stories used to bait the enemy are as important as James Bond heroics.

He doesn’t tell Berta, and she accepts his absences unquestioningly, until a threatening encounter with a creepy pair of IRA sympathisers forces her to recognise that Tomás is involved in intelligence work. Throughout the book, he enacts his characters’ various degrees of puzzlement in winding digressions about the mists and vapours that obscure our knowledge of each other and ourselves. Full of humour and intelligence … More sinuous and satisfying than many of its precursors … Ranks as Marías’s best novel in years. Powerless to influence him, often unable to contact him, Berta’s love and patience are tested over decades, as the turbulence of the 1970s gives way to the Falklands war, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.He has published fifteen novels, including The Infatuations and A Heart So White, as well as three collections of short stories and several volumes of essays. Tomás is determined to evade the agent's attentions but his fate is sealed by an escalating series of events that will affect the rest of his life - and that of his beloved Berta. Moreover, literature is the only tool available for unveiling what lies dormant in our most hidden emotions and our many masks and desires. No sooner does he decline than he’s hauled in by police, after a woman he’s been sleeping with is found strangled hours after their last meeting.

Marías, who’s long had a reputation as your favorite author’s favorite author, has lately earned himself a growing readership in the States, and Berta Isla is certainly likely to help the cause. Remarkables REMARKABLES Intriguing, stunning, or otherwise remarkable books These include fine editions, foreign publications that are exceptional for their interest or production, special editions and some first-rate books from very small publishers.As is the case with many of Marías’s protagonists, Tomás, or Tom, is an individual of many identities.

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