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Fiebre y lanza

(Tu rostro mañana #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,591 ratings  ·  299 reviews
«No debería contar nunca nada», empieza por decir el narrador de esta historia, Jaime o Jacobo o Jacques Deza.

Y sin embargo su tarea va a ser la contraria, contarlo todo, hasta lo aún no sucedido, al ser contratado por un grupo sin nombre que durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial creó el M16, el Servicio Secreto británico, y que aún funciona hoy en día de manera tal vez degrad
Paperback, 475 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Alfaguara (first published 2002)
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Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spanish
Not Smiley's People

Four themes in different keys. The question is whether there is harmony or discord.

Opening with an over-scrupulous Proustian introduction, the protagonist, Deza, considers the disintegration of his marriage. He tries to formulate a theory of the case, to name the cause, as it were. He declares that "things only exist once they have been named." But names, particularly proper names, are an issue for him. Deza is variously Jaime, Jacobo, Jacques, and Jack depending on the compan
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2008-2012)
A difficult yet very rewarding read. It took me so many days to finish this. I thought it would only take me around 10 days to finish this book but it dragged on to almost a month. The reason? The frequent appearance of beautiful passages that I have to stop reading and think through them. Pause. Think of what Marias is saying. Do a self-reflection. More often than not, whenever I do a self-reflection at night, I have to close my tired eyes. Then because I've been reading a lot, it is very hard ...more
Eddie Watkins
I can’t help it, Javier Marias’ voice seduces me. It’s a purely cerebral seduction, but still sexy in its smooth (& feverish) unspooling of its own explorations of itself inside my head. Admittedly, to actually read the whole of this book requires a seduction, and a willingness on the part of the reader to cede control of his/her own reading experience to the overwhelming, unrelenting voice; for this voice's self-love (a self-love that is also selfless) to be loved by another.

It’s all in the vo
Dec 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So yeah, I suppose that if you write an actionless, multi-volume novel with a vulgarly high comma-to-period ratio and no actual events save a party and stuffy rich erudite people yakking, you must be consciously placing yourself in a specific European literary tradition, and inviting certain comparisons to some celebrated, endless plotlessness that has come before. So yes, to answer the question blazing in everyone's mind: if Marcel Proust were Spanish and writing a twenty-first-century spy nove ...more
Stephen P(who no longer can participate due to illness)
The need for a Marias book is a physical uncompromising yearning, . A novel 1,200 pages long broken down into three volumes. Can you imagine, three volumes of Marias magic to quell the need. A magic carpet ride for a month or more.

Marias jumps in right away through his main character Deza, can the truth be derived at from the gathering of facts rather than the circumlocutions of impressions. Does one, after memorizing all the detail and facts of a painting, aware of each brushstroke and its assi
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 16 pages or so I found rough sledding because they contain almost no concrete detail. These pages are all about not trusting others, keeping your mouth shut, how readily others will betray you and so forth. Though this opening passage sets the tone for the novel well — it is a cerebral, highly digressive, novel of ideas, obsessed with history, its retention and denial, its wholesale manufacture and dissemination — it is not what you would call a boffo opening. It’s rather dead, actuall ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-crime, spain
A novel in which the narrator analyses himself with insight and honesty, which are a feast for the soul. Such a book probably cannot be written at 25. You have to have lived and suffered a lot to bring out such a masterpiece.
Ted Mooney
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I believe Marias will be the next European writer of my generation (after Orhan Pamuk) to win the Nobel Prize. This novel comes in three volumes, but Javier insists it is a single text. How can you not be intrigued by a 1,000-page novel that begins with the sentence: "One should never tell anyone anything or give information or pass on stories or make people remember beings who have never existed or trodden the earth or traversed the world, or who, having done so, are now almost safe in uncertai ...more
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Myriad readers of the Essays by Montaigne have remarked, how'd he know? This implies some spooky insight into our interior motivations that the Mayor of Bordeaux anticipated 400 years ago. It translates into vanity. That said, I felt often over the last few days that Javier Marias was privy to many of my own streams of though. This is an astonishing treatise on language, memory and history. ...more
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truly mesmerizing!
This is not for everyone, this novel, and I don’t mean this in a denigrating way. This novel is 400 pages long and yet there’s hardly any action in it; almost all of the time we are in the head of the Spanish emigré Deza in England, finding our way through his observations and thoughts, in sentences of sometimes over half a page. Curious coincidence: the main character bears the same first name (Jacques) as that of the main character in W.G. Sebald's 'Austerlitz', and it happen
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spanish, top-10-2012
I am a spy. (Who knew?)

Not for country or a cause, though causes abound. Just an observer of the passing panoply of life. And there are others: ‘interpreters of people’, ‘translators of lives’, ‘anticipators of histories’. And might we prove useful to you? A fee, perhaps, for our art.

The woman is desperate for attention, she’d invent the craziest fantasies just to be noticed. . .

The guy has principles and would definitely never succumb to a bribe, I’d stake my life on it. . .

I wouldn’t even cro
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not much of a plot development so far. A Spanish intellectual named Jaime Deza has separated from his wife and moved to London to work for the BBC. His father was imprisoned by the Franco regime for a period after the Spanish Civil War. He’s getting involved with a group within the British intelligence service who is in charge of “reading the character” of various individuals. That’s pretty much it so far. But who cares for plots. Plots are for those who can’t write. Deza knows some old intellec ...more
Dec 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, lit-fiction
Volume 1 of the Your Face Tomorrow trilogy, which apparently isn't a trilogy at all but is meant to be read as one long novel. Which means that there was a long wait in between volumes for the people who were buying and reading these as they came out, as the first one was published in English in 2005 and the third one in 2009. Luckily I didn't start reading volume one until I had all three of them.

Having said that, it probably doesn't matter all that much as (in volume 1 anyway), there is very l
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, translation
while not much (speaking of action, that is) happens in the fiction of javier marías, his gifted prose, resplendent style, and philosophical inquests combine to make him a novelist of great import. fever and spear (fiebre y lanza), the first volume of his ambitious masterwork, your face tomorrow (tu rostro mañana), revisits characters from previous books and quickly sets a ruminative tone. concerning the nature of communication, loyalty, verisimilitude, observation, and deduction, fever and spea ...more
i'm torn: marias is an original, he's spanish, and he very much loves books and people... but, no. i cannot commit. his prose and thoughts are just too unfocused. he digresses (and digresses and digresses and digresses) on a subject and it feels a mere jumble of breezy pontifications -- does it stick in the brain? in the guts? how much of himself does he truly invest? how much is on the line? (a marias/n. mailer hybrid would be interesting) these two books contain lots of virtuoso scenes and i'm ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn’t sure about this series when I read the first volume, Fever and Spear, back in November last year, so much so that I didn’t write about it at the time. While thoughtful and philosophical (perhaps more so than some of the other Marías novels I’d previously read), this opening instalment was fairly slow going throughout, especially in terms of narrative drive. Nevertheless, I preserved with the series, returning to it during my recovery from an injury earlier this year (big chunksters bein ...more
Nov 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
At what point does daring become excess? When exactly does the courage of persistence become nothing more than a hopeless snape-hunt? These are not really the themes facing the characters in Javier Marias' "Your Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear" but the questions that intrepid readers of this unique novel will consider if they choose to read it to its (completely open) end. Is Marias a genius or just an intellectual asshole? The truth has got to be somewhere inbetween, or maybe it's actually both ...more
Justin Evans
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read a review of this years ago, and vaguely thought about reading it, then opted not to. When I read a review of the third volume I finally caved in and decided to buy it. I only got round to reading it when Philip Roth had made me so disgusted with writers of English that I felt the need to clean out my brain.

I originally thought I wouldn't read it because people said it was like Sebald. Well yes, inasmuch as Marias is concerned with style and ideas. The difference is that Marias' ideas and
Elena Sala
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
YOUR FACE TOMORROW # 1 (or TU ROSTRO MAÑANA #1) is a three volume novel which explores the nature and effects of telling and interpreting (as well as not telling, or, telling in other languages).
Marías's narrative style, which some people define as Proustian (though I am not sure this is an accurate comparison) constitutes a unique voice in contemporary Spain. It is a rambling style, precise and acute at the same time. A meditative vagueness permeates his fiction and readers are encouraged to sp
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jaime Deza, the protagonist of this novel, has this power of reading people. His mentor, an old man, is the same. They can know people's history and psychology and what they're capable of just by observing them and hearing them talk. Nothing happens much in this the first volume of the story. What is certain is that by the end of the third volume, someone will be betrayed and will pay the price for "careless talk." This is ultimately a spy story, but it's James Bond in the role of a psychologist ...more
Dec 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like faux-deep meditations on the significance of armpit hair
I'm on a bit of a Tolkien thing (and this book mentions Tolkien!) but I haven't seen The Hobbit yet so let's imagine for the moment that Peter Jackson sets out the first Hobbit movie like this:

Gandalf comes into Bilbo's humdrum life and arranges for Bilbo to be present at a party with dwarves. He tells Bilbo to pay close attention to a dwarf named Thorin. Bilbo spends most of his time being annoyed by the antics of the other dwarves, but he does manage to meet Thorin for a minute in which Thorin
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Ostensibly a story about a Spanish academic recruited into a unnamed and unofficial group run by British academics for the British and friendly governments, which employs people able to ascertain someone’s true character and how they may behave in the right (or more commonly) wrong circumstances – i.e. what will their face be tomorrow. Really a book about impressions, memory, secrets, trust, betrayal with the Spanish civil war as an often present backdrop.

Extremely hard to read, as every sentenc
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe, iberia, fiction, uk
marias is a great writer. proustian is an obvious and deserved comparison. he has the insight, the intelligence and the confidence to take his time setting it all down. i've only read this, the first of a three-part novel. it is cerebral, uncontrollably digressive. it is smoothly translated. the plot so far involves madrid, london, oxford, WW2, the spanish civil war, intelligence agencies. but to my regret, to some extent to my shame, i found it boring and a chore to get through.

partly it is th
Robert Stewart
A relentlessly cerebral book, consumed with treading over the same intellectual territory through a series of long, equivocating interior monologues and conversations on telling people things, reading people's behavior, secret histories, aliases, the nature of horror, the effect of loose talk during wartime, the Spanish Civil War (with an interesting digression into Ian Fleming's James Bond novel, From Russia With Love)... It's essentially a spy novel without any spying, and although I am intrig ...more
Charlotte Fairbairn
On the cover of this novel, the publisher boldly states that Marias should be the next winner of the Nobel prize. Hmmmm. On the strength of reading this, the first of a 3-volume work, I'm not at all convinced. Marias writes in a labyrinthine, highly ponderous style which already demands a great deal of patience from the reader. In addition, the ideas he presents are tangled and it is not often clear where one idea begins and another ends. The premise of the novel is that the main character can s ...more
Lee Gingras
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book nerd's book, and not in that irritating meta writing-about-books way, but in that dreamy-and-languorous-language way. This is a book you read for the prose and the character development rather than for the plotline (although the plotline isn't bad).

What's really interesting is that this book was originally written in Spanish, and the narrator is by trade a translator who is fluent in both Spanish and English. The narrative weaves in thoughts from both Spanish and English, making
Darshan Elena
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is smart, requiring some effort on the part of the reader. What I most love about Marias' writing is how he captures emotions and tensions between people. His protagonists tend to be men and their struggles are those of men whose cultural training - to be strong, independent, resourceful, resolute, etc - makes them vulnerable to isolation and loneliness. Other reviewers nailed it by stating that Marias is a master of digression and rumination. He is. The question for readers is do you ...more
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While published as a separate novel, YFT volume 1 is actually a piece of a 1200 page continuous work. Plan accordingly while budgeting your reading time. Luckily, volume one does end with a small cliffhanger, although a more perspicacious reader would probably already know the identity of the woman with the dog.

In terms of style, the volume includes little action or plot, but Marias examines much with his use of long luxurious sentences. A very beguiling start, although I will have to put it do
Emma Bailey
Jun 19, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There's only so much time I can dedicate to a book. Granted, this is beautifully written but a month in and I still have 100 pages to read. This is way too boring for me. Time to call quits. ...more
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-year-zero
Well, now I have to read all of these.
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Javier Marías is a Spanish novelist, translator, and columnist. His work has been translated into 42 languages. 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 Col ...more

Other books in the series

Tu rostro mañana (3 books)
  • Dance and Dream (Your Face Tomorrow, #2)
  • Poison, Shadow, and Farewell (Your Face Tomorrow, #3)

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80 likes · 11 comments
“One should never tell anyone anything or give information or pass on stories or make people remember beings who have never existed or trodden the earth or traversed the world or who, having done so, are now almost safe in uncertain, one-eyed oblivion. Telling is almost always done as a gift, even when the story contains and injects some poison, it is also a bond, a granting of trust, and rare is the trust or confidence that is not sooner or later betrayed, rare is the close bond that does not grow twisted or knotted and, in the end become so tangled that a razor or knife is needed to cut it.” 15 likes
“We live, I suppose, in the unconfessed hope that the rules will at some point be broken, along with the normal course of things and custom and history, and that this will happen to us, that we will experience it, that we — that is, I alone — will be the ones to see it. We always aspire, I suppose, to being the chosen ones, and it is unlikely otherwise that we would be prepared to live out the entire course of an entire life, which, however short or long, gradually gets the better of us.” 10 likes
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