cover image Between Eternities

Between Eternities

Javier Marías, trans. from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. Vintage, $15.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-101-97211-3

Spanish novelist Marías (While the Women Are Sleeping) draws from 20 years of weekly newspaper columns to assemble a collection that is often funny, sometimes wise, and always thought provoking. The essays tackle approachable themes with élan and even bombast, as when he declares that all cities are either “boastful” like Madrid, or “conceited” like New York, which “attracts [visitors] by cultivating an ever closer resemblance to the preconceived image one has of it.” In “The Invading Library,” he describes how his childhood struggles to find space to play amid stacks of his parents’ books resulted in his fondness for literature, as well as a “lack of respect for anyone who writes, myself included... individuals who partially soured my childhood and invaded the territory occupied by my thrilling games.” But he also writes more emotionally, such as when reflecting on “the pain caused when something ends” while observing his friends mourn their children growing up and leaving home. Marías says that he writes like he reads, and the same way life is lived—without knowing what is going to happen in the end. This open-minded, playful approach permeates his delightful essays. (Sept.)