MJ Nicholls's Reviews > All Souls

All Souls by Javier Marías
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's review
Apr 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: novels, southern-europe
Recommended to MJ by: Mike Puma

I like to take recommendations from friends, read their favourite authors, then prove them illiterate schlemiels by showing how much better Gilbert Sorrentino and Lucy Ellmann are at writing things. Then I laugh at them. Hahahaha, I go. You FOOLS! Hahahahaha. OK, no I don’t. On this occasion, Mike’s recommendation was valorous and astute.

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 big Bolaño books, and the meandering metaphysics found in Sebald, Marías has written a unique, maddening and hilarious book at the classiest end of so-called lit-fic.

The narrator is a haughty Spanish don visiting at Oxford who gets tangled in an affair with a co-academic. OK, that sounds intolerable, but honestly, like On Beauty, it’s really quite beautiful. Marías favours laborious passages of lyrical musing and old-time wit, often straying into Henry James territory with the ponderousnessness of it all, but it’s mainly exquisite.

Here’s Mike’s review. Let him take over.
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Reading Progress

April 28, 2011 – Started Reading
April 28, 2011 – Shelved
April 29, 2011 – Shelved as: novels
April 29, 2011 – Finished Reading
August 26, 2014 – Shelved as: southern-europe

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Tuck (new)

Tuck yes, ponderous like james. give me rikki ducornet any day :) or even ken bruen. hahahahah, i go.

message 2: by Tuck (new)

Tuck ....."we never went back to scotland." from page 4 of "duncan the wonder dog" http://www.geneva-street.com/duncanth...

message 3: by MJ (last edited Apr 29, 2011 01:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

MJ Nicholls Heh. I like Ducornet too! Ken Bruen? You're mad. MAD.

Edit: What's that excerpt from?

Edit: Yes, I could look it up. I will. Thanks.

message 4: by Tuck (new)

Tuck its from "duncan the wonder dog" a graphic novel gr told me about. it seems good. it reminds me of what The Besnard Lakes sound like.

Mike Puma MJ wrote: "Heh. I like Ducornet too! Ken Bruen? You're mad. MAD.

Edit: What's that excerpt from?

Edit: Yes, I could look it up. I will. Thanks."

Whew! I'm relieved and glad you liked it. You gave me B.S. Johnson and Sorrentino, I gave you Marías--this is workin' for me.

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