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The Man of Feeling

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  597 Ratings  ·  68 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
Aug 15, 2012 Kris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, spain, favorites
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 Grayejoy
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

Jul 30, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014
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
Aug 06, 2013 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephen P
Sep 01, 2014 Stephen P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: interiority
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
Jun 18, 2011 Abailart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
Jan 22, 2014 Carmo Santos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espanha
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
Dec 11, 2013 Io? rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, spanish
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
Oct 14, 2010 Oscar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: míos, mainstream
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
May 08, 2010 Donato rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[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
May 30, 2014 jeremy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: translation, fiction
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
Dec 31, 2014 Margarida rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
um livro apaixonante, uma escrita intimista, sensível, narrada na primeira pessoa por um cantor de ópera, um tenor espanhol. quase em forma de diário, o protagonista descreve o sonho que tivera nessa noite, com as mesmas pessoas que conheceu 4 anos antes, durante uma viagem de comboio.

'E no entanto resisto a contar-vos tudo. Um pobre tenor que tem medo do seu próprio relato ou dos seus próprios sonhos, como se utilizar palavras em vez de letras, vocábulos não ditados, frases inventadas em vez d
Xenia Germeni
May 14, 2016 Xenia Germeni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Αν και η σχεση μας ξεκινησε πολυ αναποδα-πιο αναποδα δεν γινεται-τελικα θα πω οτι ο Μαριας ειναι ενας μεγαλος συγγραφεας! Αυτο εδω το βιβλιο ειναι ενα κεντημα που διαθετει πολλα ειδη απο διαφορετικες βελονιες. Σαρκαστικο, δραματικο, κινηματογραφικο και αθεραπευτα ευρηματικο, ο Μαριας ενορχηστρώνει ενα εργο οπερας, με βασικους 3 πρωταγωνιστες (Λεων, Χερονιμο Μανουρ, Ναταλια Μανουρ) ενα γαϊτανακι δραματικο σε 4 πραξεις. Το κειμενο ακολουθει του λιμπρετου μιας οπερας και ταυτοχρονα διατηρει τη δομη ...more
Jan 03, 2013 arcobaleno rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2013 Justin Evans rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Noé Ajo caamaño
Sep 30, 2015 Noé Ajo caamaño rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesante combinación de una maravillosa riqueza y profundidad del relato de una sentimentalidad por lo demás superficial, incluso infantil. La narración es precisa, fluida, muy matizada pero no engorrosa ni pedante. El argumento es absolutamente irrelevante, una excusa necesaria, vehiculo de una penetrante mirada sobre la superficie sin doblez. Es una poética y por lo tanto, no dice nada traducible en una reseña; la cual si quisiera ser verdadera se vería reducida a la tautología de una cita ...more
Nov 16, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  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; posiblemen ...more
Oct 18, 2010 James rated it really liked it
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.
An opera singer is travelling by train to Madrid, where he will perform Cassio in Verdi's Otello. He sits opposite a woman and two men, and idly wonders how they are related. Later that week, he meets them in the luxury hotel where, coincidentally, they are all staying, and his life becomes entangled with theirs.

The three travellers are Hieronimo Manur, a Belgian banker, his wife Natalia, and their companion, Dato. Manur is a jealous husband who has engaged Dato to protect Natalia from the atten
Apr 22, 2009 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2013 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Mar 21, 2016 Cateline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Man of Feeling
This early novel by Marias shows all the earmarks of his loquacious formatting. His prose interrupts itself constantly, twisting about like any good maze should. I know that annoys some people, but it is music to my eyes. He makes this fairly simple tale of (would be?) lovers into something that sings. How reliable his narration is must be decided by each reader for themselves.

Suffice it to say I loved it. :)
شاید درست نباشد خوابهایم را برایتان تعریف کنم. خوابهای من قدیمیاند و از مد افتاده. خوابهایی که بیشتر مناسب یک پسربچهاند تا مردی بزرگسال، راوی، داتو، ناتالیا مثل سه یار جدا نشدنی در مادرید، روزها را باهم میگذراندند. ناتالیا همسر بانکداری است که به دلیل مشغلههای زیاد، داتو را استخدام کرده تا همدم همسرش باشد. اما راوی رفته رفته مجذوب زیبایی دست نیافتنی ناتالیا میشود. ...more
Τζένη Μανάκη
Ενα βιβλίο γραμμένο σε ένα προοδευτικά επιταχυνόμενο ρυθμό μέχρι το απρόσμενο τέλος του μύθου του. Ενα βιβλίο για έναν φλογερό έρωτα ενός διάσημου τραγουδιστή της Καταλανικής 'Οπερας που αφηγείται την ερωτική ιστορία του, που έφερε ξανά στο νου του ένα όνειρο. Ο Μαρίας συνηθίζει να βασίζει τα μυθιστορήματά του σενα κλασικό έργο και την φορά αυτή επιλέγει τον Οθέλλο του Βέρντι από το γνωστό σαιξπηρικό δράμα. Είναι γνωστό ότι ο Σαίξπηρ είναι ο αγαπημένος του κλασικός αφού και άλλα έργα του αναλύου ...more
May 24, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim Leckband
Jan 11, 2015 Jim Leckband rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Javier Marías is like being a frog in boiling water. At any one point while reading a sentence I do not notice its quality (or the opposite) or notice that taken alone that it is somewhat banal and really, is it that interesting? Until an hour later and I've realized that the water in fact was boiling and I've never jumped out. Unlike the frog, I believe I like the feeling.

The plot of "The Man of Feeling" could be summarized in one sentence. Man meets woman, other man loses woman. Plot i
Jun 13, 2015 Nate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. This novel is simple, playful, elegant, sad, slim, and slow burning. The ending is great. The book, like others of Marias, also contains great psychological & philosophical observations. He's like a poet of psychology. Highly recommended.
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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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