Thus Bad Begins (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Javier Marias is an acquired taste, but once you’re on board there’s no getting off the Marias express.  (Literally, the sentences and paragraphs are too labyrinthian to pause once you’ve begun.)  Still building an audience in the US, but considered a master in Europe and a good bet each Fall for a Nobel Prize by English bookmakers, the Spanish author’s latest is a study from afar of a bad marriage, repressed memories and the legacy of the hidden crimes of the Spanish Civil War BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER - you’re reading Marias for the improvisational quality of his sentences and the relentlessness with which he drills down to the depths of the his character’s motivations.  His hypnotic Proustian digressions prove that with great literature the journey is more important than the destination.  -Scott

— From Scott's Picks


In Madrid, 1980, five years after Franco's death, Juan de Vere takes a job assisting Eduardo Muriel, a film director in the twilight of his career. Muriel is eccentric but charming, an irresistible idol for Juan. But certain people, and forces, loom, among them Beatriz, Muriel's difficult wife; and Dr. Jorge Van Vechten, a mysterious figure implicated in unsavory rumors involving Muriel. As Juan digs deeper into all three of their lives, the deceptions and loyalties he begins to uncover will change the course of his young life. Thus Bad Begins is an ambitious, sweeping novel of a young man and his country, and of life in the wake of a dictator's reign.

About the Author

JAVIER MARÍAS was born in Madrid in 1951. The recipient of numerous prizes, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Prix Femina Étranger, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, he has written fifteen novels, three story collections, and twenty works of collected articles and essays. His books have been translated into forty-four languages, in fifty-seven countries, and have sold more than eight million worldwide. Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101911914
ISBN-10: 1101911913
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: November 14th, 2017
Pages: 464
Language: English