The Infatuations is a metaphysical murder mystery and a stunningly original
literary achievement by Javier Marías, the internationally acclaimed author of A Heart So White and Your Face Tomorrow.
Every day, María Dolz stops for breakfast at the same café. And every day she enjoys
watching a handsome couple who follow the same routine. Then one day they aren't there,
and she feels obscurely bereft.
It is only later, when she comes across a newspaper photograph of the man, lying
stabbed in the street, his shirt half off, that she discovers who the couple are. Some
time afterwards, when the woman returns to the café with her children, who are then
collected by a different man, and Maria approaches her to offer her condolences, an
entanglement begins which sheds new light on this apparently random, pointless death.
With The Infatuations, Javier Marías brilliantly reimagines the murder novel as
a metaphysical enquiry, addressing existential questions of life, death, love and
The Infatuations is an extraordinary, immersive book about the terrible force of
events and their consequences.
'I am greatly impressed by the quality of Marías's writing . . . he uses language like
an anatomist uses the scalpel to cut away the layers of the flesh in order to lay bare the
innermost secrets of that strangest of species, the human being' W. G. Sebald
'Years ago, I said that Marías was Spain's best living writer . . . Nothing,
afterwards, has made me alter that opinion' Eduardo Mendoza, El País
'[I am] enthralled by his strange mix of made-up memories, lost experiences and real-
life fantasies' Marina Warner, Guardian
'Stylish, cerebral . . . Marías is a startling talent' The New York Times
'Sentence by glorious sentence, is there a better novelist alive in Europe now than
Javier Marías?' Independent
Javier Marías was born in Madrid in 1951. He has published ten novels, two collections
of short stories and several volumes of essays. His work has been translated into thirty-
two languages and won a dazzling array of international literary awards, including the
prestigious Dublin IMPAC award for A Heart So White. He is also a highly practised translator into
Spanish of English authors, including Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Thomas
Browne and Laurence Sterne. He has held academic posts in Spain, the United States and in
Britain, as Lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University.
Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for over twenty-five years and has
translated many novels and short stories by Portuguese, Spanish and Latin American
writers, including Javier Marías, Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, Bernardo Atxaga and
Ramón del Valle-Inclán. She has won various prizes for her work, including, in 2008, the
PEN Book-of-the-Month Translation Award and the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for
her version of Eça de Queiroz's masterpiece The Maias, and, most recently, the 2011
Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for The Elephant's Journey by José Saramago.
Javier Marías reads an extract from
A Heart So White and talks about his
books, writing and contemporary literature.