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The voice of Spain

Javier Marias speaks for a confident modern Spain with its calculated suppression of recent history

By Bella Thomas   April 2000

Javier Marias has been hailed as the voice of modern Spain. He writes, invariably, about violent death, usually in a disconcertingly aseptic fashion. His stories are fielded by casual curiosity, quiet assumption and random detail. The effect can be like watching a silent horror film. Some critics describe him as “Anglo-Saxon” because of a cold, steely quality. But he is particularly popular in Germany. So where does he belong?

His Anglo-Saxon flavour is quite conscious. He has translated Laurence Sterne and Richardson and other English classics. He has written a novel set in Oxford, All Souls, depicting life among incestuous,…

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