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At their best (as in "on the Honeymoon" or "Broken Binoculars") these stories have enough wicked, cynical verve to rival Roald Dahl's adult fiction. And even the lesser stories are darned good: Marias is frequently nightmarish (occasionally featuring actual ghosts) and sometimes almost upsetting. One of two stries even feel like the set-up to a Hitchcock film.
A dozen stories by Javier Marías, "the most subtle and gifted writer in contemporary Spanish literature" (The Boston Globe).
Victims of mistaken identity, sponging relatives, amateur sleuths, eavesdroppers, professional liars, assassins, and failed bodyguards populate the short stories in When I Was Mortal. Plots turn on curious exigencies--a woman about to star in her first porn film; a night doctor who adds new meaning to "specialist"; a ghost whose neglect is greatly resented.
About the Author
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 practiced 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.
"A great writer." --Salman Rushdie
"A refreshing discovery... [they] should be welcomed here like a bracing tonic." --Chicago Tribune
"Dazzling.... Javier Marías writes with elegance, with wit and with masterful suspense." --The Times Literary Supplement
“His prose demonstrates an unusual blend of sophistication and accessibility.” —The New Yorker