I suppose you could say that not a lot happens in “All Souls”, but that would only be true if you don’t count looking, thinking, loving, remembering, even being:
"Oxford is a city in syrup, where simply being is far more important than doing or even acting."
Marias uses first person narration to tell his story, and for 210 pages I was firmly ensconced in the mind of this ostensibly charming man and lover, referred to (only once) as "the Spaniard".
The closest analogies I can...more
Sometimes you know from the very first words in a novel: I’m gonna’ like where this takes me. Now, as I start All Souls (and this review), I’ve read over 1600 pages penned by Marías, and he never fails to catch me up immediately and run with me. In this novel’s case, by the narrator’s distancing of himself from the character he was at the time of the events he’s yet to reveal.
An unnamed Spanish professor at Oxford teaching contemporary Spanish literature and translation (during the classes for...more
He was absolutely right in saying Marías is the middle point between Bolaño and Sebald (or words to that effect). Combining the long unspooling sentences of the...more
Welcome to the journey.
Marias spins us through time and isolation written in aquiline precise prose. The master of black comedy, his humor throughout much of the novel is tinged with a palpable sadness.
The novel opens with the narrator telling us that while at Oxford two of his colleagues died but that he is no longer the same person who taught there for two years. Entering his building each morning he passes the ninety year old porter, Will, who due to some unnamed form of dementia lives in dif...more
الراوي "جامع الكتب النادرة" والمدرس الجامعي...يحكي تفاصيل حياته لسنتين في المدينة الجامعية...حيث كان مدرسا للترجمة...ويصف برتابة وحيادية أخلاقية حياته هناك وعلاقاته بمن حوله...متحدثا عن نفسه كأجنبي يُنظر له دوما بعدم الثقة وعن عدم ثقته بمن حوله وعن محاولات تأقلمه مع البلد الغريب...كاشفا الكثير من الأسرار والحكايات المخبوءة داخل المدينة ذائعة الصيت مما يعري الصورة الم...more
The humour is belly-stretching and gives concord to the crude lusts depicted within the pages, leaving a tense indigestion. Incessant talking, loveless sex, gluttony, competitio...more
"عندما يكون المرء وحيداً و يعيش بمفرده و بخاصةً في الغربة يعير سلة المهملات انتباهاً خاصاً لأنها قد تصبح الشيء الوحيد الذي لديه علاقة ثابتة به .. "
توقفت هنا و حمدت الله على ف...more
His account of high table lunch at an Oxford college is so fine and funny I couldn't put it down once, not even while preparing a hot café crème with homemade bittersweet chocolate sauce.
More than just a wry, bittersweet story, "All Souls" is phenomenological. Each character evoked in the book inhabits a lineage, closely bookended by their own predecessors and su...more
The narrator lives a somewhat isolated existence during those two years, an existence as an essen...more
Marias' prose style, while not inaccessible, admittedly takes some getting used to, but as the novel progresses the author's style becomes increasingly rhythmic and intoxicating. It seems that Marias' long winding sentences (broken frequently by multiple parentheses) are as much about the maintenance of a certain cadence as they are about the gradual process of pulling together individual strands...more
What a disappointment it was. For Oxford, all the cliched bases are covered, but to be honest, the City really seems like a bystander. There's none of the inspiration, none of the light. Just drunk wardens, pompous gay tutors, and cheap girls in the local clubs where acade...more
But let's suppose that I crushed into "All Souls" just a couple of years ago when I was far from Oxford and completely unaware of going to settle up there in a few months time.
Well, in that case, I would have thought that this novel was well written and Marias certainly got brains, but would not praise much else.
For "All Souls" is a sort of diary, a personal ac...more
El narrador cuenta cómo el tiempo pasa asfixiantemente lento en Oxford, un lugar en donde parece que no le acontece nada a nadie, pero...more