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Dark Back of Time by Javier Marías
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Jan 28, 11

bookshelves: favorites, criticism-philosophy-religion

This is Marias's response to the critical assumptions that his novel *All Souls* is a roman à clef--a claim which he vehemnetly denies. *Dark Back of Time* is part philosophical treatise, part apologia, part short story collection, part extended essay.

At the core of this text is an investigation into the aspects of life which strike us as too fantastical to be purely coincidental. Despite some miraculous events that occur in Marias's life, and the lives of those he weaves into the amazing literary tapestry that comprises *Dark Back of Time,* Marias ultimately comes to this conclusion:

"Nothing is whole or of a single piece, everything is fractured and envenomed, veins of peace run through the body of war and hatred insinuates itself into love and compassion, there is truce amid the quagmire of bullets and a bullet amid revelries, nothing can bear to be unique or to prevail or be dominant and everything needs fissures and cracks, needs its negation at the same time as its existence. And nothing is known with certainty, and everything is told figuratively."

I sympathize with this ethos almost wholly, though his nearly fatalistic tone, I think, hides the empowering side of this embracing of coincidences. I find it rather liberating, and even more amazing than if these events were merely an illustration of teleology. This is a great companion piece to Pynchon's texts--especially *V.*--when speaking to the idea of "plot" and the rethinking of a Hegelian view of history.
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