Tag Archives: Javier Marias

Everything contains its opposite

Yes, everything is painfully ridiculous and subjective and partial, because everything contains its opposite and depends entirely on the moment and the place and the virulence and the dosage, delivering either sickness or vaccination, either death or beautification , just as all love carries within itself its own staleness and every desire its own satiety and every longing its own ennui, so the same people in the same position and place love each other and cannot stand each other at different moments in time, today, tomorrow; what was once a long –established habit becomes slowly or suddenly unacceptable and inadmissible – it doesn’t matter which, that’s the least of it – and the merest contact, a touch once taken for granted, becomes an affront or an insult, what once gave pleasure or amusement becomes hateful, repellent, accursed and vile, words once longed for would now poison the air . . .

Javier Marías Your Face Tomorrow: Dance and Dream

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Writing and reading as exploration

Interviewer: What is the purpose of writing for you?

Javier Marías: I think it was Faulkner who once said that when you strike a match in a dark wilderness it is not in order to see anything better lighted, but just in order to see how much more darkness there is around. I think that literature does mainly that. It is not really supposed to “answer” things, not even to make them clearer, but rather to explore — often blindly — the huge areas of darkness, and show them better. So in my opinion it does not really matter if subjects are unanswerable (all of them are, possibly), as literature is not expected to solve riddles or mysteries, but just to show them — perhaps putting them in a slightly new light, perhaps calling attention to overlooked aspects of them.  (more here) 

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Telling a story

By imagining something you are starting to resist it, and that applies to things that have already happened as well: you can withstand misfortunes more easily if, afterwards, after experiencing them, you can manage to imagine them. And, of course, the way most people do this is by talking about them. Not that I think everything could or should be told, far from it, but neither is it admissible to over-falsify the world and send idiots and dimwits out into it who have never known the slightest disappointment or anxiety. Throughout my life, before telling something, , I have always tried to guage what could be told. To whom, how and when. You have to stop and consider what stage or moment in their life the person listening to you has reached, and to bear in mind that what you tell that person will stay in their mind for ever. It will become incorporated into their knowledge, just as the murder I heard about on a tram became incorporated into mine, even though it was just one of many. And, as you see, I haven’t managed to dislodge that story from my knowledge . . Javier Marías Your Face Tomorrow 2. Dance and Dream

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memory of reading a novel

Once you’ve finished a novel, what happened in it is of little importance and soon forgotten. What matters are the possibilities and ideas that the novel’s imaginary plot communicates to us and infuses us with. Javier Marias, The Infatuations 

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