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Thus Bad Begins

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,458 Ratings  ·  258 Reviews
From the internationally acclaimed author of The Infatuations comes the mesmerizing story of a couple living in the shadow of a mysterious, unhappy history–a novel about the cruel, tender punishments we exact on those we love.

Madrid, 1980. Juan de Vere, nearly finished with his university degree, takes a job as personal assistant to Eduardo Muriel, an eccentric, once-succe
Hardcover, 444 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published September 23rd 2014)
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Giles Moustache Similar only in the husband/wife dynamic, I'd say, which is superficial. Thus Bad Begins, like other Marias novels, is saturated with the narrator's…moreSimilar only in the husband/wife dynamic, I'd say, which is superficial. Thus Bad Begins, like other Marias novels, is saturated with the narrator's thoughts, perceptions, conjectures, flights of fancy, as well as his limitations and motivations. Moravia is working in a broadly realist tradition--though it has been a while admittedly since I read it--and Marias is not. (less)

Community Reviews

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Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been a while since I read anything by Marías, and all of the others have been from earlier in his career. This is one of his more accessible books, a slow burning drama of secrets both personal and political, with a title taken from Shakespeare which appears at several pivotal moments.

The narrator is Juan De Vere, a young man who is taken on as a factotum-cum-researcher by a minor Spanish film director Eduardo Muriel. Muriel asks him to investigate unspecified rumours about his friend Dr
O título de Assim começa o mal é inspirado numa frase da peça de teatro Hamlet de Shakespeare. No original, “Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.” . Em português foi traduzido para assim começa o mal e o pior fica para trás. Curiosamente, numa entrevista feita ao autor, este esclareceu o sentido que retira da frase.

"Bem, ao traduzirem o meu romance para outras línguas, muitos tradutores foram ver como se havia traduzido essa frase de Hamlet nas suas respectivas línguas, e descobri que muito
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm starting to get a little worried that we hit peak Marías with his trilogy and that he might now be sliding somewhat into what might possibly pass as decline. It feels like someone has convinced him to chill out a bit with the incredibly intensive, repetitive, highly internal, digressive language and spend more time on actual plot and action, perhaps in order that his novels might be better suited for adaptation to film? This just didn't get in my head with recursive rhythms the way I feel hi ...more
Teresa Proença
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-espanha, 5e
Perdi-me de amores por Javier Marías com o Coração tão branco.
N'Os enamoramentos, embora mais serena, continuei a querer-lhe.
Amanhã na batalha pensa em mim cansei-me e abandonei-o.
Voltei para Assim começa o mal "e o pior fica para trás"...

É verdade que ele pode ser um pouco maçador. Neste romance (e nos outros), coloca o narrador e as personagens a divagar sobre assuntos que parecem não ter nada a ver com a história; repete conversas de páginas anteriores em que, descaradamente, passa a ideia de
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, translation
indeed, freedom is the first thing that fearful citizens are prepared to give up. so much so that they often ask to lose it, ask for it to be taken away, banished from their sight, which is why they not only applaud the very person intending to take it from them, they even vote for him.
with over a dozen of his books available in english translation, javier marías's stateside renown seems to grow deservedly with each new release. his most recent novel, thus bad begins (así empieza lo malo) — na
Eyüp Tayşir
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marias külliyatını eksiksiz takip etmeyi sürdürüyorum; ne yazarsa yazsın okuduğum ve hem eserlerinin kurgusal mimarisini hem de anlattığı hikâyeleri çok beğendiğim, öykündüğüm bir yazar Marias. Hacimli eserler veriyor, uzun ve derin cümleler kuruyor, klasikle bağını koruyarak metinlerarasılığın eşine az rastlanır bir örneğini sunuyor. Acı Bir Başlangıç Bu da ismini Shakespeare'in Hamlet'inde geçen bir bölümden alıyor (Thus bad begins and worse remains behind...) ve diğer eserlerinde olduğu gibi ...more
Camille Stein
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Javier Marías, visto por Sciammarella. -

La verdad imprudente (Jordi Gracia) |

Cuando uno renuncia a eso, cuando uno renuncia a saber lo que no se puede saber, quizá entonces, parafraseando a Shakespeare, quizá entonces empieza lo malo, pero a cambio lo peor queda atrás.

‘Dentro de nada dejaré de pertenecer a los necios e incompletos vivos y seré como nieve que cae y no cuaja, como lagartija que trepa por una soleada tapia en verano y se detiene un instante ante el perezoso
Kasa Cotugno
After starting a very lightweight novel a week or so ago which I gave up on it fairly early, I realized I now want more out of my fiction than mere entertainment. This provided the perfect anodyne. Rich, dense, meaty European fiction incorporating historical and popular references, in fact populated with familiar faces, but not too familiar. Inside dope that may or may not be fact. All to tell the story of a toxic marriage as witnessed by Juan de Vere (or young de Vere, as his boss calls him). W ...more
Christine Bonheure
Mooi boek, gelezen in amper drie dagen. Voor een boek van 500 pagina’s kan dat tellen. Ik hou van een verhaal met een goede, niet te rechtlijnige plot en een ontknoping waar je 450 bladzijden lang naar uitkijkt. Zeker als het verhaal gesitueerd is in een land dat je niet zo goed kent, en je al lezend alweer wat opsteekt. Hier over de tijd voor en na de dood van de Spaanse dictator Franco. Een tijd waarin zijn aanhangers hun fascistische verleden proberen te verdoezelen. Een tijd van vrijheid op ...more
Barbara Wahl
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nelle spire di Marìas
Io che comincio quattro libri e ne finisco uno, impaziente, lettrice approssimativa e difficile da trattenere, un poco désabusée forse, poco propensa ad aspettare in ogni caso della vita, saltatrice di pagine noiose o di descrizione di sogni, sono sempre presa nelle spire di Marìas che riesce a trattenermi per più di 400 pagine con storie che sono, come quelle bibliche, quelle della letteratura russa e tutta la grande narrazione in fondo, niente altro che storie di morti, na
Paul Fulcher
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Anything you're told, anything you didn't personally witness, is pure rumour, however wrapped up in oaths it comes, all swearing the story to be true. And we can't spend our lives listening to rumours, still less acting in accordance with their many fluctuations. When you give that up, when you give up trying to know what it is you cannot know, perhaps, to paraphrase Shakespeare, perhaps that is when bad begins, but, on the other hand, worse remains behind."

Thus Bad Begins is the most recent n
Ana Carvalheira
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este último romance do escritor madrileno Javier Marías é, na minha opinião, inquietantemente, avassalador. É-o na intensidade dramática da narrativa, na beleza estética da prosa, na eloquência das reflexões que, muitas vezes, nos deixam ver nas entrelinhas algo violentamente perturbador.

Ao contrário dos resumos que tenho vindo a efectuar depois da leitura de um livro que, sobremaneira me agradara, desta feita, irei apenas transcrever alguns trechos com os quais me identifiquei, ou que me deram
Stephen P
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: interiority
This book is an indictment against time passing; its nerve and indifference. He succeeds. In this way the tedious structure and style is a replica of this eternal battle. If it was meant in this manner or arrived at Marias’ doorstep packaged in a plain brown box, then trying trying to open it will provide the patient reader not just the knowledge but the experience. For most this may well be an experience they will rather hear about than go through for over 400 pages.

I enjoyed it. But was this m
Lark Benobi
I didn't like the story very much. What I loved though was the feeling of being in the presence of a masterful and intelligent storyteller. The language isn't just beautiful--it's also full of insight, where it surprises sentence by sentence.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Un mes y... he tardado en leer esta cansona novela.
J. Marías desde los inicios de su literatura ha siempre intercalado sus opiniones personales — todas las que tiene (que son legión porque sobre cualquier aspecto, no importa lo nimio que sea, ha de decirnos algo) — en la trama que nos cuenta, a través del narrador, pero a medida que han pasado los años y las obras, esta parte de su quehacer ocupa más y más extensión, más intención, mayor empeño, como si fuera una carrera contra reloj para sulfur
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: iberici
Una bella storiellona morbosa e rimestosa...

"Così ha inizio il male", dice Amleto alla madre mentre Polonio è a terra, ucciso, nell'opera di Shakespeare. Marìas pone il verso nel titolo del romanzo, ma omette volutamente la conclusione del verso stesso, destinata poi a ritornare continuamente e ossessivamente durante la lettura: "e il peggio resta indietro".

La citazione di Shakespeare si riferisce alla convenienza che si suppone di avere quando si rinuncia a prendere coscienza di ciò che di nega
Teresa Santiago
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
¡Pero qué bueno es Marías!
No se puede ser más exquisito, exigente — tiquismiquis, a veces, con la propia lengua—. Dando vueltas con ristras de sinónimos, con subordinadas infinitas hasta que, por fin, parece encontrar la expresión que refleja con la máxima exactitud su idea. Me divierten tanto sus manías y aversiones: a la mediocridad en el habla, a la "villanía léxica", a lo zafio, a lo vulgar, a las personas de poco mérito, a los chaqueteros, a los chicles, a los que hicieron sufrir tanto a su
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E' raro che abbandoni un libro, magari lo accantono per un po', ma con l'intenzione di riprenderlo. Questo è uno di quei casi in cui la tentazione è stata forte, salvo poi ricredermi verso la fine, quando la vicenda ha rivelato spunti interessanti e un buon intreccio, in cui i problemi privati sono in fondo i problemi di una nazione che non ha fatto i conti con il proprio passato. Ho faticato ad andare avanti per la prolissità, per i tratti morbosi e irritanti con questo insopportabile protagoni ...more
En toch.... wat een boek! Heen en weer geslingerd door tegenstrijdige gevoelens.
Mooie zinnen en boeiende filosofische bespiegelingen zouden niet moeten worden verpakt in een overbodig sentimenteel verhaal klaar voor een Chicklit. Welke volwassen en erudiet man verlaagd zichzelf door zijn vrouw te kwetsen met woorden als meelzak, nijlpaard omwille van een gekwetsheid? Althans dit waren meermaals mijn verzuchtingen tijdens het lezen en vaak was ik dan ook ontgoocheld en wou stoppen met lezen. Nu b
Katia N
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone who likes the novels by Marias and his manner of writing would not be disappointed. I liked this novel more than "Infatuations" and you can trace the allusions, albeit subtle, to the "Your face tomorrow" trilogy which i consider the best of his novels.

This novel is a profound, deeply moving mediation on the nature of truth; whether it really exists; whether people always like to know it. Also it is about what is more important - revenge or forgiveness and whether they ever come together
Justin Evans
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Another interesting development for Marias; not as interesting as his writing a female narrator in his last novel, but interesting nonetheless. TBB features much more straightforward narrative than any of his other novels, which is to say that large chunks of it are just plot. Still well written, no doubt, but much less unique than his earlier work. Another important departure is his dealing, explicitly, with the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist years that followed it. You could easily read t ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Con la sua scrittura ricca, talora barocca, Marías racconta una storia incentrata sull'amore nato male e finito peggio tra Eduardo e Beatriz - una storia ambientata in Spagna negli anni immediatamente successivi alla dittatura franchista, tra ferite ancora aperte e cicatrici fragili. A rapporto già deteriorato da tempo, le vicende dei due hanno come spettatore e coprotagonista il giovane Juan che, in quanto aiutante di Eduardo, regista cinematografico, gira per la loro casa, vede e partecipa, re ...more
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
A “maníaca” ordem cronológica que dita as minhas leituras impôs que retirasse da estante e consequentemente lesse a última obra de Javier Marías na última quinzena de maio, ou seja, ditou que numa época carregadinha de trabalho e de outras circunstâncias preocupantes carregasse um “calhamaço” de 530 páginas para onde quer que fosse (como o faço sempre com qualquer livro). Resultado – sinto que planei sobre as referidas 530 páginas, sinto que não me debrucei sobre as mesmas, que não lhes dediquei ...more
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'd like to thank Knopf Marketing and Goodreads Giveaways for sending me this breathtaking novel, won in a giveaway earlier this year.

The title, which is taken from a line in Hamlet, “Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind,” is very fitting for the times we are living in, as we collectively embark on what could be the end of American democracy, the two-party system and life and liberty, which we have come to know and love. This is my last novel of 2016 and has become one of my favorites of th
Lenore Beadsman64
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
e il peggio non tarda a venire...

Madrid anni ottanta, fine della dittatura e conseguente rilassamento della popolazione che, però, continua a camminare sulle uova per quel che riguarda il passato...Juan lavora per Eduardo Muriel, un famoso regista e spesso si ferma a casa sua dove ha modo di assistere allo strano comportamente dell'uomo con sua moglie...ovviamente c'è un motivo e altrettanto ovviamente lo scopriremo col non prima di aver dato una generosa occhiata alle dinamic
Nacho Rauda Salazar
¿Qué es la verdad?
Esta es la pregunta que relacionaría con este libro.
Particularmente, aquí Marías mezcla temas que de suyo son complicados, ambiguos... propios de la naturaleza humana y de las relaciones que tenemos, y en especial en los matrimonios.
Y qué decir de cómo está escrita: un manejo extraordinario del lenguaje, un ritmo in crescendo, y un desenlace muy natural, emotivo y en sincronía.
Sumamente disfrutable, pero más que eso, mucho, mucho para reflexionar.
Wouter Zwemmer
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literatuur, read-2016
Slow read van formaat: ~550 pagina's psychologisch / filosofische overpeinzingen in een mooie meanderende stijl. Voor liefhebbers - en ik ben er één van!

Traktatie over weten en waarheid
In de eerste paar hoofdstukken al trakteert Marías ons. Op een verhandeling over waarheid, kennis en het geheugen. Op láááánge zinnen, heerlijk onmodieus lang. Op inzichten in welke effecten een dictatuur op mensen en een samenleving heeft. Al snel in dit lijvige boek heb je door dat het gaat over weten, vergeten,
Charles Finch
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
My review from USA Today


Javier Marias is the real deal. His new book, Thus Bad Begins, is a stunning successor to his widely-lauded 2013 novel The Infatuations, both of them written in his sixties, with the freedom and expansiveness that novelists sometimes suddenly attain at that age. This novel, set in Madrid in the early 1980’s, is about the troubled marriage of a filmmaker and his wife. Narrated by the filmmaker’s ingenuous young assistant, it slowly but inexorably moves from innocence towa
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
I may have shared with you how I often feel a stranger in this world. When a writer is able to tap into that emotion, to make me reread a sentence because he has just described a way I’ve felt, it is a somewhat rare occurrence. But Javier Marias is one of the few writers who is able to do just that, touch a piece of my heart and make it feel a little less alone.

Take for example, this early description of Beatriz’ troubled marriage, which faintly mirrors my experience with my first husband:

Jan 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This is the second Javier Marias book I have read, the other being The Infatuations. I have to admit that I was drawn to both these books by the excellent photographs on the covers (The Infatuations has one of my all-time favourite images on its cover). And you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

This book is what I imagine you would get by combining Hitchcock's "Vertigo" with Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day". The main protagonist is in the employment of a man and watches the life of the fami
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Romantic post modernism? 1 1 May 28, 2018 08:35AM  
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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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“Advertir que alguien quiere vincularse a nosotros sexualmente nos obliga a considerarlo,” 2 likes
“Cuando han pasado muchos años, o incluso no tantos, la gente se cuenta los hechos como le conviene y llega a creerse su propia versión, su distorsión.” 2 likes
More quotes…