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Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me
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Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  1,719 ratings  ·  189 reviews

From "the most subtle and gifted writer in contemporary Spanish literature" (Boston Globe), a riveting novel of infidelity and a man trapped by a terrible secret.

"No one ever suspects," begins Tomorrow in the Battle Think On Me, "that they might one day find themselves with a dead woman in their arms.... Marta has just met Victor when she invites him to dinner at her Madr

...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 17th 2001 by New Directions (first published 1994)
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The Rings of Saturn by W.G. SebaldLabyrinths by Jorge Luis BorgesA Heart So White by Javier MaríasThe Hour of the Star by Clarice LispectorJourney to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Best New Directions Books
14th out of 95 books — 82 voters
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Books I wish I had never read
437th out of 779 books — 853 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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s.penkevich
Feb 24, 2013 s.penkevich rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The dark back of time
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Mike Puma
It is unbearable that people we know should suddenly be relegated to the past.

Death is inevitable. From the very first page of Javier Marías’ flawlessly executed novel ‘Tomorrow In the Battle Think On Me’, death becomes a constant companion to the reader, always whispering in our ear the truths of our impermanence and the endless variety of possible deaths that await us – horrible deaths, ridiculous deaths, death that may make a stranger laugh when they read it in the paper. ‘Any dead life las...more
Mike Puma

Incredible! In-freakin’-credible.! This is one of those titles you want to recommend to everyone, but you know damned well that it isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea—one of those novels that folds up on itself into something origami-like—a piece of paper manipulated into a work of art something like this: descriptioneven if your own look more like this: description ( my paper birds have wings that flap)

Why do you read? Why do you read what you read? When you pick up a novel for the first time, do you think ‘thi

...more
Garima
Everything is travelling towards its own dissolution and is lost and few things leave any trace, especially if they are never repeated, if they happen only once and never recur, the same happens with those things that install themselves too comfortably and recur day after day, again and again, they leave no trace either.
The writing of Javier Marias is a different case altogether. Repetition and recurrence are common aspects of his books * and yet they always leave an everlasting trace on reade...more
Ian Paganus
The Strange Workings of Time

The act of telling a story takes up time, it prolongs time and, in doing so, prolongs life.

It preserves memories while we are alive, but it can also preserve them beyond our death.

Paradoxically, story-telling might even help us to accept death.

As Marias’ protagonist, Victor, says:

"I can tell the story and I can therefore explain the transition from life to death, which is a way of both prolonging that life and accepting that death."

Expecting to Reign

Victor’s story s...more
Stephen P
This book no longer exists.

I told this to the owner of the bookstore, it was of course empty.

You are the second person to complain. The first was much younger than you. More my age.

You have not read the book, I asked as he sat at the edge of a table mostly emptied. He shook his head. Then, that would explain it, I would like my money returned.

Can't do.

But I no longer have a book that I bought here.

Explain yourself.

O.K. It begins with a dead woman in the narrator's arms. He will remember her...more
MJ Nicholls
Aug 26, 2014 MJ Nicholls rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to MJ by: Señor P
Marvellous. Loved the serpentine sentences with their astonishing thought-within-thought, near-metaphysical poetic lilt, preference for the cosy comma over the sloppy semicolon, their use of not-oft-seen things like reported speech (and thought!) within parentheses, or another character’s dialogue(!), repeated phrases (“dark back of time” about six times) and callback to earlier passages and quotations to elevate the plot matter to something loftier than the obvious. Mike is right—Marías, aside...more
Ema
This novel blew me away and I'm still working to fit my pieces together. I got lost into Marías' winding train of thoughts and I'm still trying to find my way back to reality. What was it that I liked so much about this novel? Well, everything: the plot, the subtle humor, the flow of words, the ideas, the profound pondering. I found and lost myself at the same time, and I really can't explain this; if you haven't done it yet, you should read the novel and see for yourself.

Marías talks about deat...more
Szplug
When I had around thirty or so pages left to read, I felt a real stab of melancholy, a pungent sadness, that I would soon be finished with this particular narrator and his story - I liked him, commiserated with him, enjoyed the manner in which he presented his fascinating tale, the thoughtfulness with which he considered what had (seemingly) transpired, both to himself and (allegedly) to others, during the period of his enchantment, his haunting by the dead spirit of an unconsummated lover. Marí...more
Fionnuala
I don’t propose to talk about the plot of Javier Marias' thought-provoking piece of writing but instead I would like to examine my experience of reading this Richard the III style monologue, because that is what this book is, a long speech by the narrator Victor in a calm, unvarying tone, a speech that states quite clearly that he is aware that his story is sometimes bizarre and sometimes unbelievable and that we aught to shrink from it, in fact he says, I am the person doing the telling and peo...more
·Karen·
I can see the attraction of the first person narrator. The risk, it must be said, is considerable: confinement to a single point of view can be rocks in the pockets of a plot that is trying to swim free. The exclusive and unrelieved company of a strident or grating voice can swiftly turn potential reading pleasure to pain. But a writer must find a certain tone of voice, an attitude towards the tale to be told that remains consistent. There is nothing more jarring than a sudden collapse into a di...more
Algernon

Morpheus sister from the Sandman series reminds us at one point (in Brief Lives I think) that we all know how every story ends. We just tell ourselves we don't to make it all bearable. She is the avatar of Death, so I guess she knows what she's talking about. Javier Marias protagonist of this here story has all the pretending stripped off from his life when a casual romantic encounter ends with the woman dead in his arms. He becomes obsessed not so much with the fragility of existence, but wit...more
Declan
Jan 14, 2014 Declan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Declan by: Ema
Shelves: harvill
‘For, after death, Time leaves the body, and the memories … are effaced from her who no longer exists and soon will be from him whom at present they still torture.
Marcel Proust  Albertine disparue.


Time and Death are the two preoccupations of this intricate and profound novel.

"Someone is dressing up for death today, a change of skirt or tie
eating a final feast of buttered sliced pan, tea"
Dennis O' Driscoll   Someone.

(Full poem here: http://dennisodriscoll.com/poetry/som...)

This death - the death w...more
Noce
In confronto, il regista di Sliding doors è un dilettante.

Quando Dio distribuiva il permesso di scrivere romanzi con frasi lunghissime senza far cascare il latte alle ginocchia, in fila non c’era solo Saramago. Con lui c’era anche Marìas.

Quindi, superato lo sgomento,dovuto alla prospettiva che ci sia, non uno, ma almeno due scrittori, nei confronti dei quali, dovete armarvi di santa pazienza, leggere con calma, tornare indietro se occorre, puntare il ditino sulla parola esatta, ogni volta che a...more
Jonfaith
Is there a proper definition of a Novel? Anything static and comprehensive? I'm speaking pressed paper here. Tomorrow in the Battle Think On Me is at the core a philosophical question, one which allowed serial permutations. It features well developed characters. The protagonist reflects and remembers as he converses with others. Morality and epistemology dance in lurid circles. The distance between his personal thoughts and his social utterances remain (ever) vast and human. Perhaps that is my c...more
Marco Tamborrino
Non è stata una lettura piacevole, anzi. Direi che mi sono 'divertito' solo nelle prime cinquanta pagine, poi ho iniziato a rallentare fino a lasciarlo lì per un giorno intero senza leggerne mezza pagina. Il perché non lo so, dopo un po' mi irritava. È qualcosa che non ho mai letto prima, nel senso che lo stile è 'originale' a modo suo, c'è un rincorrersi di parole, un 'mettere a nudo' cose che sappiamo ma che non sapevamo di sapere (per citare Marías). È come se l'autore, scrivendo, si fosse po...more
Cheryl
My first clue to the structure of this novel, or the first one that I twigged to, was the recurrent untied shoelace. Untied shoelaces kept popping up, for no apparent reason. What is the significance of untied shoelaces that appear on pages 38, 80, 88, 112, 113, 131, 132, 136, 230, 238? I still don’t know, except that they prompted me to start reading the book in an entirely different way.

The narrator is a ghostwriter, who ghosts for another ghostwriter, and he is often invisible or strives to d...more
Aidan Watson-Morris
a prostitute uncrosses her arms and takes her hands out of her pocket, in the same sentence, for the same reason (to show a potential client her body), without any mention of her putting her hands in her pockets after uncrossing them. unless i missed something, that seems like a minor editorial oversight. i mention it because – barring the obligatory typo or two--it's the only flaw in the whole goddamn book.

most great books--the vast majority, i'd say--are intermittently brilliant by necessity....more
Jessica
May 24, 2014 Jessica added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have not just read two other books by Javier Marías in rapid succession
I feel like I can't reasonably rate this book, because a thing happened that's similar to what happened with me and the vegetarian cabbage rolls at the Middle Eastern market by my house.

A few months ago, I tasted those vegetarian cabbage rolls for the first time and concluded that they were the most delicious thing I'd ever had in my life. Being as I am, I became completely obsessed and started making long, sweaty treks through the Miami humidity to fetch them, especially once I realized I didn'...more
Teresa
Jun 22, 2012 Teresa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: ·Karen·
This book is amazing, though you'll have to wait to the end to see how truly amazing it is. As is the case with so many books I end up loving, the ending made it for me.

It took up residence inside my head, even when I wasn't reading it (and it's still there) in much the same way as The Good Soldier and The Sense of an Ending, all first-person narratives told by a man, did. (I've been trying to think of a first-person female narrator that has engaged me in the same way, but so far I haven't come...more
Cynthia Collu
• L'ho sentita dire qualcosa d'altro e ha detto "Dio mio, e il bambino"
Non c'è punto, né esclamativo, né interrogativo, neanche quello semplice. Non c'è full stop.
Dio mio, e il bambino, dice Marta che sta morendo tra le braccia di uno sconosciuto, uno che si è portata in casa per una possibile avventura, una distrazione mentre il marito è lontano, una banale scopata, Dio mio e il bambino, dice pensando al figlioletto di due anni che rimarrà solo con quello sconosciuto mentre il padre è in viag...more
Cheryl
Javier Marias' byline in a Madrid newspaper appears weekly reaching millions. Imagine Roth following suit. But Marias isn't as well known outside Spain though the late W. G. Sebold and Salman Rushdie praise his literary gifts.

There are 300 words in the opening sentence of TOMORROW IN THE BATTLE THINK ON ME that set up a situation for the narrator that simply begs reading to the conclusion on the last page.

Highest Recommendation! FAVORITE
Janet
Told in the first person, the construct is an act of unconsummated infidelity which quickly becomes a treatise on what it means to act or acutely, not act. The novel opens with a young woman suddenly taking ill and subsequently dying in bed in the arms of a man not her husband while her small son sleeps in another room. In such a moment, what you do or don’t do informs your future even as the past dogs your every step.

The narrator/protagonist writes, “I’m a passive kind of person who almost nev...more
M. Sarki
Oct 04, 2013 M. Sarki rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to M. by: Mike Puma
http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/6311454...

It was my good fortune to be notified today by my local library that the book I had requested had been delivered to my branch and was available for me to pick up at my earliest convenience. The timing came at no better instant of my day as I was to complete within the hour my first full exposure to the work of Javier Marías. I confess to anyone considering what I might have to say on this matter that the reading of Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me took m...more
Tony
Stories intersect, as do people. The first story here: A woman dies in Victor's arms at a moment of inchoate, illicit intercourse. What to do with the sleeping two year-old boy in the bedroom; what to do with the husband away in London? Don't worry too much. It can happen to you.

So we have intersecting people, these and more. But the husband's story, as teeming as the first, awaits.

There are some annoying moments in between, especially Victor's creepy habit of following women. And how could a...more
Natalie
a beautifully moving book about death, ghosts, anonymity, silence and what follows, this is the tale of a ghost writer who meets and beds a woman in a clandestine affair, only to have her die during their first tryst, in her house, with her child sleeping. The narrator must then discern how to deal with the death, how to deal with the people in the dead woman's life who do not know, who should know, who will be effected. Marias' prose lifts off the page in an exquisite timbre. His ruminations on...more
Rosalba
[…] c’è sempre un grado di irrealtà in ciò di cui ci informano, come se niente accadesse mai per intero, nemmeno quello che capita a noi e che non dimentichiamo…

Periodi infiniti e sorprendenti, intuizioni mai banali, allusioni e personaggi dolenti; una scrittura complessa, indubbiamente, con molte divagazioni ma è un libro da non perdere perché qui c’è la vita che altro non è che un gioco di specchi, un alone di nebbia che nasconde, deforma e lascia solo intravedere e mai vedere, e l’animo umano...more
Tancredi
Confesso sin da subito la molteplice inquietudine che questo romanzo mi ha causato e continua a causare. Una vicenda morbosa che mi ha causato disturbo e inquietudine. Un romanzo che, nonostante ciò, gode di un altissimo favore e apprezzamento. Infine, l'inquietudine di doverlo recensire negativamente.
Nella post-fazione, che l'autore chiama inspiegabilmente (ma anche inevitabilmente) Epilogo, Marias ricorda che il romanzo, attuale forma dominante della produzione letteraria, è in voga ormai da...more
Justin Evans
Reading this was a very odd experience, since it's a bit of a dry run for the extraordinary Your Face Tomorrow... which I read first. 'YFT' is a half line from Shakespeare's Henry IV (late 1590s), while TitBToM is a line from Richard III (early 1590s), so it's possible that Marias will eventually write books with titles lifted from the later Roman plays. That would be fun.

More importantly, the themes of YFT (i.e., our continual attempts to 'know' people despite the fact that they will always sl...more
Rise
A man and a woman are about to commit adultery. Suddenly the woman dies on him. The man cannot report her death and must immediately leave her and her sleeping child behind. From this opening scene, the novelist explores the idea of narrating and storytelling as acts fraught with emotional baggage, of the art of novel-writing as essentially ghostwriting. Later, the man considers revealing his identity to the woman's husband. He feels that unburdening himself can be the only way to save them both...more
Robert Wechsler
4.5. What struck me most in the first hundred pages is how the narrator stands aloof from what occurs and the people involved, describing and speculating with little knowledge. This is both very unusual and very common. It is how we are, it is how we deal with uncertainty and a lack of knowledge, it is even a way we entertain ourselves (and each other). And yet this is an approach that is rarely employed by fiction writers.

It’s also interesting that a screenwriter (the narrator) employs little d...more
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  • Montano's Malady
  • Soldados de Salamina
  • Senselessness
  • Ghosts
  • Obabakoak
  • Tiempo de silencio
  • The Family of Pascual Duarte
  • La hija del caníbal
  • The Door
  • No se lo digas a nadie
  • Requiem: A Hallucination
  • Stone in a Landslide
  • The Return
  • Textermination
  • The Time of the Doves
  • El misterio de la cripta embrujada
  • Tirano Banderas
  • Concierto barroco (Biblioteca Juvenil)
71956
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
More about Javier Marías...
A Heart So White Los enamoramientos Your Face Tomorrow, Vol. 1: Fever and Spear All Souls Your Face Tomorrow, Vol. 2: Dance and Dream

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“Seafood poisoning, a cigarette lit as the person is drifting off to sleep and that sets fire to the sheets or, worse, to a woollen blanket; a slip in the shower—the back of the head—the bathroom door locked; a lightning bolt that splits in two a tree planted in a broad avenue, a tree which, as it falls, crushes or slices off the head of a passer-by, possibly a foreigner; dying in your socks, or at the barber’s, still wearing a voluminous smock, or in a whorehouse or at the dentist’s; or eating fish and getting a bone stuck in your throat, choking to death like a child whose mother isn’t there to save him by sticking a finger down his throat; or dying in the middle of shaving, with one cheek still covered in foam, half-shaven for all eternity, unless someone notices and finishes the job off out of aesthetic pity; not to mention life’s most ignoble, hidden moments that people seldom mention once they are out of adolescence, simply because they no longer have an excuse to do so, although, of course, there are always those who insist on making jokes about them, never very funny jokes.” 4 likes
“You don't even have to move for everything to become horribly complicated, for things to happen, for there to be anger and iitigation, you only have to breathe in this world, the slightest in-breath or out-breath like the minimum swaying inevitable in all light objects hanging by a thread, our veiled and neutral gaze like the inert oscillation of toy airplanes suspended from a ceiling, and that always end up going into battle because of that minimal tremor or pulsation.” 4 likes
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