Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly's Reviews > All Souls

All Souls by Javier Marías
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's review
Jul 11, 2012

really liked it

The plot is sparse: the narrator is a visiting Spanish lecturer in Oxford, a bachelor (good looks hinted), he mingles with the people there, those quirky dons, and--for a Spaniard like him-- experiences those strange English mannerisms and customs. He starts an affair with a pretty, but married (to a fellow professor) tutor. But this is no withering, whimpering love story. The two occasionally meet some place basically just to fuck. And mostly talk. So this is no porn. It's not in the fucking or the sucking (although Marias has thoughts while his cock is being sucked) but in the thinking.

Marias, master of asides, adorns his barest of plots with his surprisingly fresh, novel, incisive and brilliant introspective ruminations on practically everything. Carefully-crafted mini-essays about whatever comes to his or his characters' minds. Some didactic and serious, some nostalgic, some funny set pieces worthy of a laugh even during wakes or funerals (goodreads people read even there). If the reader does not control himself, he'll end up copying these and pasting them in his liked quotes here. I was able to resist this temptation only because they are so many and each of them as outstanding as the other.

Alright, so then is this just a barren skeleton of an old Christmas tree where the author hanged his varied thoughts to create a semblance of a novel? No. There is a surprising denouement waiting for the reader towards the end which, for me, completely changes the mood of the novel.

Loved it.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 11, 2012 – Shelved
July 11, 2012 – Finished Reading

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

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message 1: by s.p (new) - added it

s.p Great review. Reminds me I need to check out Marias, I hear good stuff

message 2: by Nenette (new)

Nenette Why not a 5 then?

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Coz twas my 1st Marias. So in case I read a better one later, I will be able to give a higher rating.

message 4: by Ellie (new) - added it

Ellie I'm starting it now. Loved your review.

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly thank you. hope you finish it soon.

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