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The Man of Feeling

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  432 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Glinting like a moonstone with layers of emotion, The Man of Feeling is a sleek and strange tale of cosmopolitan love. An affair between a married woman and a young man just becoming an opera star (curiously helped along by the husband's factotum) meets with adamant resistance from the implacable husband.

Narrated by the young opera singer, the novel opens as he recalls tra
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 17th 2003 by New Directions (first published 1986)
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This book is a gift.

A few days ago, showing the center of Madrid to a visiting friend, we stopped at the bookshop patronized by Javier Marías. In Librería Méndez they are usually well stocked on his books. Because of its connections with Opera, I had wanted to read this particular one, but as it is an early work it is less easy to find. But there it was, and my friend very kindly offered it to me.

The opera link is with Verdi’s Otello. This is another sample of Marías’ interest in Shakespeare. I
This is yet another brilliant novel by Javier Marías. I'm not going to pretend to any kind of objectivity; he has become one of my favorite writers in a very short time. In this short, intricately crafted novel, Marías explores the intersection between love and dreams. Is the true experience of love something a person experiences actively and with intention, or is its essence made up of recollection and imagination? And what happens when a person's best chance of happiness seems to come while dr ...more
Ian Heidin[+]Fisch
Love Both Possible and Opposed

I don’t know whether I should tell you my judgement or just my impressions.

Marias captures your attention from the very first moment he opens his mouth or puts pen to paper (or rather, presses the first key on his Olympia Carrera de Luxe typewriter). It’s like being at a dinner table and discovering that an infinitely more interesting guest is also in attendance, or sitting down in a cinema and realizing that this could be the best film you will see all year.

Mike Puma

This is a beautiful, melancholy novel. Stunning in its accomplishment and execution. Another winner from Javier Marías, a man I beginning to feel I know. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, where other Goodreads’ friends have their David Foster Wallace or their Thomas Bernhard, and where previously I had my Cormac McCarthy and Roberto Bolaño and with whom I’m was quite content, I now have to add Javier Marías to that list of Those Who Do No Wrong.

While traveling by train to a performance as Ca

The Man of Feeling is a reinvention of Othello, one both wicked and wicked-smart. An opera singer reflects on a visit to Madrid to perform in Verdi's Otello. He encounters three people: a married couple and their (paid) companion. The Shakespearean roles are all twisted and dislocated. The matters are more mercenary here than the Bard's tale. Madrid is both home to the itinerant singer as well as some blurred noir, teeming with after-hour temptations and the ubiquity of garbage trucks. Marias of ...more
I read this book on a mattress in an empty apartment while on the cusp of making a cross country move and a complete life change. I read this book while being in love. Perhaps this is why the dreamy and emotive tone of Marias' strange novel resonated so much with me.

This is a curious and short tale of reminiscence. Of dreams vs. reality. Of longing.

Very little was happening in the story, just as nothing much was happening in my empty apartment with the whirling ceiling fan and the occasional v
Stephen P
Marias writes as the master of realism. It is faithless to believe it is about the realistic, detailed rendering of events and objects. The Man Of Feeling instead searches out, in elegant prose, the portrayal of inner reality, its speculation as both strength and defense, or the need to discard it as cumbersome to the enjoyment of life lived within the boundaries of a life.

The first person narrator, a budding opera singer on the cusp of stardom, who must travel frequently for professional reason
Joy upon joy. Halfway through. Getting to know Marias. There's the woman on the bed sitting with her thighs showing. Here are six imagined scenarios of a woman undressing for bed as imagined by her absurd lover who's singing Cassio in Otello. Metonym after metonym of gnarled fingers, gleaming teeth, the space between breasts setting off a cataclysm, thighs that feel like scar tissue. Oh, and the poor fat boy, most ridiculous of all prisoners forced to wear short trousers until he was 16 by his c ...more
Carmo Santos
A história deste livro parte de uma dessas situações banais que acontecem todos os dias e que à primeira vista não trazem nada de novo. Um homem - um cantor de ópera que passa a vida em viagem por cidades diferentes e que fica sempre hospedado em hotéis de luxo, conhece numa dessas viagens, um casal que viaja acompanhado por outro homem. É aqui que a situação começa a ficar estranha, pois o terceiro elemento exerce a função de "cão de guarda". Aquele casamento foi um negócio e o marido - homem r ...more
Il libro che non ti aspetti. Lo scrittore che non ti aspetti. Ogni tanto succede. E quando capita è bello. Avete letto la trama del libro riportata qua sopra, tratta dalla quarta di copertina? Ebbene, cancellatela dalla mente, dire che è fuorviante è poco, dire che è una cagata pazzesca è un semplice eufemismo. L'uomo sentimentale (il titolo a mio parere avrebbe dovuto usare il plurale) è tutta un'altra cosa, sono i riflessi di uno specchio riflesso su altri specchi sull'amore, è una camminata f ...more
La historia comienza cuando el narrador pone por escrito (y al mismo tiempo nos cuenta) el sueño que acaba de tener. Los hechos que nos narra (y que ha soñado) empezaron hace cuatro años, cuando el protagonista, tenor de profesión, viaja a Madrid en tren para una actuación. Será durante este viaje en tren donde se fije en tres personas, que le llaman poderosamente la atención, dos hombres y una mujer. La afilada percepción del protagonista (y de Marías) nos describe detalladamente como son estas ...more
an early and exceptional work from the great spanish novelist, the man of feeling (el hombre sentimental) is "a love story in which love is neither seen nor experienced, but announced and remembered." in an explanatory epilogue entitled "something unfulfilled," marías expounds further:
can such a thing happen? can something as urgent and unpostponable as love, which requires both presence and immediate consummation or consumption, be announced when it does not yet exist or truly remembered if it
[Note: Italian translation]
It's taken me awhile to write this review. Because I'm trying to get a handle on my thoughts.
I really liked the structure of the book. It turned a simple story into a suspenseful one too. Marquez-like, Marías blends past, present, future, memory and dream, but he adds something else to the mix: imagination -- that is, the narrator imagines what other characters might be doing or thinking. Like he needs to create a story beyond his own story.
Marías himself says, in an e
Dopo un iniziale disagio per i periodi lunghi che mi lasciavano senza fiato anche la mente, mi sono ritrovata trasportata da un’onda scorrevole e tranquilla di pensieri, ben articolati e consequenziali… Una scrittura che sembra, d’altra parte, adattarsi alle immagini sfumate, tra sogno e realtà, tra memorie e proiezioni, in questo breve romanzo: potrebbe apparire un banale “triangolo”, ma in realtà niente ha di banale né di retorico; l’amore vi risulta impalpabile, stranamente sfuggente nell’att ...more
Justin Evans
Not quite up to Marias' usually high standards, but perhaps a good place to start nonetheless, because it's a much easier read than his later work, and more similar to them than the other earlier novel that you can easily find in English, 'All Souls.' Here his method of juxtaposing a few stories to come up with a... well, I don't really know what to call it (constellation? universal? passion? idea? myth?), but with a complex thought-feeling, is in its earliest stages. Rather than reflecting two ...more
Nov 16, 2014 Linda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Mike Puma
Me encanta como escribe.....sin embargo, no veo a ninguno de estos dos como ¨sentimental¨, sino egoistas.....voy a pensarlo, como lo terminé anoche, a ver si cambio de idea. Como persona que viaja sola bastante, me encantó la descripción de los viajes del tenor, de su anhelo por poder conocer bien un lugar, su gente, por tener vínculo en los sitios donde cantaba con frecuencia, para sentir la sensación de pertenecer a un lugar. Es la primera de Marías que leo, y sí que voy a leer otras; posiblem ...more
A tale of cosmopolitan love, The Man of Feeling is a novel of recollection. A memory of love remembered ala Proust, but with a shortened span of memory as if the dream is fleeting as the love. A ghost story in the sense that memory is ghost-like and this memory, while filled with desire, is haunting with fragments of what happened or may have happened. For an opera-lover like myself it had just enough passion to suggest the music of love. It had the libretto, if not the music.
I quite liked Marias's employment of duality; a story told in fragments without much dialogue. On one hand, the haziness of what was dream or reality was lulling. On the other, the game of fulfilled versus incomplete love was exciting (as were the ardent, operatic characters in the backdrop). Strange to be left satisfied without resolve.
"در بیشتر موارد آدم خودش نمی داند که دیگری عشق او را چه لحظه ای پذیرفته و در چه لحظه ای او را ترک کرده است و دلیلش هم صرفا این نیست که همیشه این اتفاق در غیاب ما می افتد بلکه علاوه بر این قضیه این است که مشخص کردن لحظه واحدی که این تحول اتفاق می افتد غیر ممکن است.درست همانطور که آدم هرگز نمی تواند بداند که پذیرفتن عشقش به خاطر وجود منحصر به فرد،اعمال مشخص و سجایاو ارزشهای خودش بوده یا صرفا نتیجه قرارگرفتن سر راه سرنوشت دیگری"ص175

رمان"مرد است و احساسش"درباره عشق است ولی این بار خلاف معمول حول محو
Marias is a prize-winning Spanish novelist. He wrote two novels before he was 20; counting them, The Man of Feeling was his fifth book, published in Spain when he was 35. His more recent novels feature characters, who, like Marias, work as translators and teachers (as does the protagonist in Llosa’s The Bad Girl, a translator but not a teacher)—characters who give up their own voices to take on the voice of another. Opera singers also give over their voice in service of their characters, creatur ...more
An odd, enigmatic little fable, which like all these things, starts on a train, with our narrator seeing a triangular arrangement, two men bookending a woman, and who then forces the formation of a new triangle. Why does he do it? Why not, he might ask.

I enjoyed this one a lot more than the book of stories I read previously-- there seemed to be less force employed here, and more time instead laying elaborate traps for the reader and characters. So we've got an opera singer playing the role of th
A short novel and a fast read which absorbed me though in the end felt a bit empty; an opera singer and his traveling life which precludes a "normal" settled existence, so he constantly feels in-between (whether love, women, places, even life itself); a slice of his existence book-ended by two affairs, one with a woman he lived in with for about 18 months (sort of - see above) and whom now some 5 years later is just a ghost memory and another with a beautiful married woman as per the blurb

Jin Zhao
This is one of the best love stories I've read. Marías is a damn good writer (duh), although sometimes good writers overwrite.

"What I want there to be at the hour of my death is the incarnation of my life--what that life has been--and in order for you to have been that too, you must have lived by my sided from now until that final moment. I could not bear it if at that moment you were only a memory or a confused figure belonging to a vague and distant time which is this clear time that we are li
In the afterward Marias writes: "The man of feeling is a love story in which love is neither seen nor experienced, but announced and remembered." That one sentence coveys the abstracted melancholy of the narrative voice, sad, but not self-pitying. The story hovers around one meeting between an peripatetic opera singer and a married woman and her platonic companion. It could be a novel of obsession but it's not, rather, just like most of Marias oeuvre, it's a study in careful and sustained observ ...more
Haré una reseña corta porque la trama no es muy compleja y el 90% serían spoilers.

Estoy tratando de leer los libros de Marías en orden cronológico (los que tenemos en casa, al menos, sé que entre Travesía del Horizonte y este me salté un par) y me parece interesante ver cómo en esta novela, a diferencia de las dos primeras, ya se ven las ideas que se van a reiterar a lo largo de la obra del autor - lo que he leído. Por la misma longitud de la obra me parece genial el método en el cual se van des
Un libro perfectamente bien escrito, de escenas y emociones. Los libros de Javier Marías me recuerdan a los cuadros de Turner, quietos con mucho detalle y una sensibilidad etérea.
marías is such a masculine writer, so punctuated, his protagonist's point of view always so precise and incisive--the secondary characters are more like silhouettes, small details make them come alive, a gnawed hand, the color of a tie. this book, published in 1987 is one of his earlier works, but a real gem--reading marías is kind of like getting into the heart of relationships, he describes with such intensity the nature of how we relate to one another. this book was like coming across one of ...more
This turned out to be quite a book. It’s a good story, great writing, and it deals with an intricate subject matter and proposes an interesting hypothesis: that to lose an unfulfilled love is much more agonizing than to lose a love that has already been fulfilled. To lose an unfulfilled love is to be “forced to abandon the true realm of love, that of possibility and the imagination.” The true man of feeling in the story is not the man who lost a woman whose love he had received, but the man who ...more
Colin N.

A decent little novel describing a man's dream in which he relives (and recounts for the reader) an encounter affair he had with a married woman. Some interesting ruminations on dreams and passion. Although in general I thought it a bit rambling (even for such a short book). I'm a big fan of Marias' work but here he embraces some of his worse habits (long, neverending sentences and very little plot). Nevertheless, it is a quick read and has some interesting thoughts.

Danielnylinnilsson Nylin Nilsson
I was quite disappointed by this book. Javier Marias has a marvellous hand with language ( and the translation is great) - in the beginning it seems old fashioned and odd but after a while you start to appreciate and the love the witty humour.

The story though, is banal and his way of only mentioning women as the objects of men's whims and desires is disturbingly sexist. My edition was then finished off with an afterword by the author that makes him seem rather self absorbed.
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Javier Marías was born in Madrid. His father was the philosopher Julián Marías, who was briefly imprisoned and then banned from teaching for opposing Franco. Parts of his childhood were spent in the United States, where his father taught at various institutions, including Yale University and Wellesley College. His mother died when Javier was 26 years old. He was educated at the Colegio Estudio in ...more
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