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Poison, Shadow, and Farewell

(Tu rostro mañana #3)

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,089 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Poison, Shadow, and Farewell, with its heightened tensions between meditations and noir narrative, with its wit and and ever deeper forays into the mysteries of consciousness, brings to a stunning finale Marías’s three-part Your Face Tomorrow. Already this novel has been acclaimed “exquisite“ (Publishers Weekly), “gorgeous” (Kirkus), and “outstanding: another work of urgen ...more
Hardcover, 546 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 2007)
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Sep 29, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a bore. Terribly bloated. The longest of the three volumes. I guess the editor was out sick that week. Endless abstract digressions. It’s sad because a good editor could have sliced it into far better shape than this turgid heap we ended up with. A missed opportunity.
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poison, Shadow and Farewell is the valedictory volume of Javier Marías's spy novel whose prose style represents a calcification of the novelist's poetic images, lines, phrases, and symbols, all unfolding in slow motion in the pedantic mind of its narrator. In the 1,200-page opus Your Face Tomorrow, we find Jacques Deza, recently separated from his wife Luisa in Spain and employed in London as an interpreter and as a kind of behavioral consultant under the tutelage of his boss Bertram Tupra, an e ...more
Justin Evans
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
There's a select group of novels in my reading history: the first time I read them, I would occasionally become deeply envious of people who hadn't started them, because that meant they had something amazing to look forward to. The first time it happened was with War & Peace. It also happened with The Magic Mountain, Gravity's Rainbow (although I was sick when I read it, so it might have just been a fever), The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and Gerard Woodward's sort of memoir trilogy. That's not to ...more
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spanish, top-10-2012
Allow me to be cinematic. Imagine me with a Montepulciano handy; my right leg could be pistoning (but I am not the type); my soul is on fire ( I am that type). Have you been there, after you close the book, but before you shelve it: wanting everyone to read it right now; wanting to start again from the very first page; not wanting to let go?

tis, tis, tis

This is an old man's story, and a younger man's life. There was a drop of blood in Vol. 1. There was a drop of blood in Vol. 2. In Vol. 3, the
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Third and final part of the trilogy 'Your Face Tomorrow', another 500 pages and again but 1 single real scene of action. As in the previous parts Jacques Deza keeps on observing, registrating, interpreting and above all reflecting, pages and pages on end. Yet something has changed. In the previous part his boss Mr. Tupra confronted Deza with the use of bold violence (the intense scene in the toilet for the disabled) and the suggestion that there are no real moral laws. In this part Tupra adds so ...more
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-standouts
The reality is this: if you are lucky as a reader, you will find that writer who is a mirror of yourself, who pens the sentences and stories you would pen, had you the nerve, the time. Marias, for me, is that writer, so it is with great narcissism that I award him five stars and recommend any and all to read him. Of course, many won't, and the pity is that he has such a long eye reaching both back and forward...he understands our sins, and he casts both aspersions and patience on them. I put thi ...more
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Language is a virus from outer space."--William Burroughs

This book is the third volume of a novel called Your Face Tomorrow. The three volumes as a whole are a masterful exploration of the processes by which we imprint each other, for better or for worse. The imprinting can happen through language, through action and the power of example, or through visual media. At the novel's center is the perception that when we release something from ourselves, an idea, an inspiration, a thought, a vision,
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Can't really put my finger on the one thing I love about this book. The language of the book is superb, the story moves along at a leisurely pace, but isn't stagnant. There are sections of the book which seem to deviate but are interesting and absorbing in particular the last episode with Wheeler.
I also like Jacques, Jaime, Jacobo call him what you will.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterful trilogy of truth, betrayal, coercion and culpability - all too relevant in today's culture of surveillance.

To read my review of the trilogy, please click here:
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I was initially excited by the structure of Your Face Tomorrow, seeing in it something like the inverse of Paul Auster's foray into detective fiction in The New York Trilogy: instead of starting with a distinctly framed genre story and then dissolving its conventions, Marías seems to begin in a fog of abstraction and obsession through which the alluring outlines of a spy novel occasionally coalesce (before again being obscured by the narrator's ruminations).

I was also interested to see how the
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, translation
'and besides, everything has its moment to be believed, isn't that what you think?'
completing his monumental 3-volume novel, your face tomorrow, javier marías's poison, shadow and farewell (veneno y sombra y adiós) wraps up the unforgettable story of jacques deza and his foray into the shady, complex domain of secrets, spying, and intelligence. as a whole, your face tomorrow offers a fictional account of espionage (international and interpersonal), propaganda, deceit, violence, and legacy. f
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I FOUND THIS TODAY AT THE ALBANY, CA LIBRARY BOOK SALE! Amazing! They didn't have the first, or the second, but THIS ONE, the third, a gorgeous hardcover in perfect condition and only $1!

Gerald Camp
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is among the five best books I have read in more than 60 years as a reader. Though it runs 1250 pages, divided into three volumes,I raced through it as if it were a thriller. And in a way it is: a James Bond novel minus the bad guys as if written by James Joyce in the style of Ulysses. Everything in all three volumes pulls the reader toward the climax in Vol.3, so if it seems nothing is happening in Vol. 1, keep going for the payoff. But don't forget anything you read in Vol. 1 or Vol.2 bec ...more
Mike Puma
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Your Face Tomorrow--which is not to say it's a title easily recommended. I had the luxury of reading all three volumes one after the other and over a relatively short period of time (I think my enjoyment was enhanced by this opportunity). The individual volumes are not episodic or self-contained. I suspect readers who picked up these volumes as they were translated/published were probably left wondering what what they had got themselves into. The books are not volume ...more
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: iberia
Should one never tell anyone anything? How responsible are we for the consequences of our actions, our words, our thoughts? Do we really know ourselves, and, if we think we do, how long will this self-knowledge last? Are we ever the same tomorrow as are today?

Having spent a couple of years with *Your Face Tomorrow* (I read each volume pretty much as they were released), I’m still not sure I know the answer to any of these questions, which permeate the whole of the text. But therein lies the won
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Finally made it! So little time to read recently... But now I feel fullfilled, I was waiting for the Polish edition about a year or more. And when the whole 'your face tomorrow' adventure is over, I am full of doubts. The only thing I'm sure is the genius of Javier Marias's writing. The main question is: how much of the story is true? How many facts did he use or borrow from his father's and his friend's biographies? Have to figure it out. Although it's a pity that the story of Tupra and Perez-N ...more
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This three-volume series just blew me away. I read the second and third volumes back to back – and what a joy it was. The first volume was heavy on introspection and reflection. The plot gets going in the second volume (one incident in one night) and thickens in the third which is the largest volume. As I said in the review of the first one, you shouldn’t read Marias for the plot, even though this turns out to be not a bad story. The writing (props to Margaret Costa for a superb translation) is ...more
Elena Sala
The third part of this macabre drama / spy novel explores the problem of violence and of doing harm unto others. Jacobo Deza, the protagonist, is involved in a series of violent episodes sometimes directly, others indirectly; deliberately or passively according to the occasion.
Javier Marías probes the psyches of his characters scrutinizing in minute detail the effect of their actions on their sense of who they are now and who they are going to become "tomorrow". As I mentioned in a previous revi
Mat Sletten
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've praised the previous 2 volumes of this book, and this cemented what I already suspected while reading the first volume - this is one of the best books I've read. It is not action forward, but the writing is filled with obsessive detail and fantastic insight that I looked forward to every moment I had with the story. It's best to indulge long sits with these volumes as that is how they work best for a reader. I can't get over much Marias writing has changed how I read character. At it's hear ...more
Jonathan yates
Jun 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Awesome, generally as a reader i have been lost in the world of dead writers and this is a voice that's alive and compelling, a three volume set that explores only a few social interactions, but manages to weave a story of how people interact with each other and a narrative of violence that given the ease of the present seems shocking and is awesome because it is very real.
Highly recommended
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of other reviewers here have done a fantastic job of analysing such a dense book (in ideas, and yes in pages if you amalgamate the trilogy)so let me just say Your Face Tomorrow is well worth a read if you want you like a bit of philosophy in your novels. There is scant plot (one conversation, lasting maybe an evening, takes up a hundred pages) Marias command of language is such that the words dance off the pages.
Perfect for folks who read spy novels and think, "What's with all this action? What I really want is TONS of character development!"
Feb 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
this is an unbelievable novel. i cannot even imagine reading all 3 parts straight through, i think my head would explode. i think maybe it did already with "farewell".
Mario Hinksman
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A masterful conclusion to the trilogy. Jacques, of many variations, is forced to confront the reality of his work for enigmatic Bertram Tupra, in a nameless organisation, that operates on the outer edges of the British intelligence services.

Two acts of violence form the pillars to the story against which Marias muses in characteristic form on the realities of human nature especially when it comes to violence. Using the Second World war, the Spanish Civil war, Tupra's professional obligations and
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The most troubling, and for me the best volume of the trilogy. The wars most in focus are the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, and there are only passing references to other more recent wars, but since the story is one of how violence can breed violence, that it is hard/impossible to predict the outcomes of actions and even of words uttered, whether innocently or in a self-interested bid to solve a problem, it seemed to me very much a novel of the period following the invasions of Ira ...more
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First off, mad respect for Margaret Jull Costa--I can't vouch for the accuracy of the translation, but I marvel at anything this entertaining, delightful, and poetic after going through translation.

Marías seems to be able to squeeze entire philosophical inquiries and huge sections of this book out of small events, visions, and exchanges. Throughout this whole three-part novel, he weaves together a personal story that touches on the historical (primarily the Spanish Civil War and WWII) and connec
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh what a long strange poisonous fever dream it's been, oh what a shadowy dance with death (and war and violence). And still is, because it's like my head's all foggy and I'm having trouble gathering my thoughts. It's as if they're caught in Marías's intricate web of interrupted stories and conversations, citations (and self-citations) and repetitions.

The fact that it took me a while to finish the book doesn't help either. In fact, it took me a really long time to finish the trilogy as a whole,
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: tls, lrb
I took a long time to read this book - the most time of the three - despite the fact it had the most "action" (which is not a lot, although action is not something I care much about). It is good. I don't think I love this book (obviously - just gave it 3 stars), but I do think it is good and it echoes around in my head, and I think reading it is important for understanding the contemporary world, as told in literature. This book is about consequences, but I didn't find the ending very convincing ...more
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, which is the third part of the trilogy which is in fact one long (1500-page) book by Marias, took me 18 months to finish, as I read 100 pages then lost interest and left it on the shelf of partly-read/to-read books which has pride of place on any decent bookshelf. The book(s) have been widely praised for being 'Proustian', which I cannot corroborate as I have only got to p. 37 of ARDTP (another casualty of my policy of bibliographic promiscuity), but which may allude, one can only gue ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1001_read
5 stars for the entire series and not just book #3, as it is not at all a standalone novel.

That being said, YFT was everything I wanted to get from Proust that I did not. The writing has the same dreamy quality, complete with long, run-on sentences (see one reviewer's comment about the shocking comma to period ratio), but the material was much more modern and could be applied to my own life. Due to the nature of Proust's subject, I had difficulties relating to him and therefore to entire books i
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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)
  • Fever and Spear (Your Face Tomorrow, #1)
  • Dance and Dream (Your Face Tomorrow, #2)

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It’s time to turn your attention to something dark and twisty, to a story (or two or three) so engaging, the pages just fly by. In short, it’s...
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“The truth is that we never know from whom we originally get the ideas and beliefs that shape us, those that make a deep impression on us and which we adopt as a guide, those we retain without intending to and make our own.

From a great-grandparent, a grandparent, a parent, not necessarily ours? From a distant teacher we never knew and who taught the one we did know? From a mother, from a nursemaid who looked after her as a child? From the ex-husband of our beloved, from a ġe-bryd-guma we never met? From a few books we never read and from an age through which we never lived? Yes, it's incredible how much people say, how much they discuss and recount and write down, this is a wearisome world of ceaseless transmission, and thus we are born with the work already far advanced but condemned to the knowledge that nothing is ever entirely finished, and thus we carry-like a faint booming in our heads-the exhausting accumulated voices of the countless centuries, believing naively that some of those thoughts and stories are new, never before heard or read, but how could that be, when ever since they acquired the gift of speech people have never stopped endlessly telling stories and, sooner or later, everything is told, the interesting and the trivial, the private and the public, the intimate and the superfluous, what should remain hidden and what will one day inevitably be broadcast, sorrows and joys and resentments, certainties and conjectures, the imagined and the factual, persuasions and suspicions, grievances and flattery and plans for revenge, great feats and humiliations, what fills us with pride and what shames us utterly, what appeared to be a secret and what begged to remain so, the normal and the unconfessable and the horrific and the obvious, the substantial-falling in love-and the insignificant-falling in love. Without even giving it a second thought, we go and we tell.”
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