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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