Molina instead relates betrayal, torture, prison, murder almost incidentally. To my mind that heightens the horror. So glad I found this author, as I find many writers new to me, by searching for fiction that might illuminate my own travel experiences. In this way I stumble onto sometimes awful work, but occasionally, as with this Nobel Prize winner, an exceptional and unique voice.
I read the Kindle version, just fyi. I always do these days, so the eyes have it.
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View 1 comment. En fin, las descripciones de MM y los personajes de Minaya y Manuel bien merecen una lectura. May 14, Alberto Glez rated it it was amazing. Una pena. May 22, Alan rated it it was amazing. There's something hypnotic about the long, languid sentences that make up this book and that force the reader to pay attention to every nuance and every metaphor because within the serpentine alleys of the writer's prose lurk all kinds of mysteries and clues, which may or may not be true.
The book is set in Franco-era Spain and tells the story of a young university student, Minaya, who retreats to his uncle Manuel's mansion in an ancient city called Magina to write the biography of Jacinto Solan There's something hypnotic about the long, languid sentences that make up this book and that force the reader to pay attention to every nuance and every metaphor because within the serpentine alleys of the writer's prose lurk all kinds of mysteries and clues, which may or may not be true.
The book is set in Franco-era Spain and tells the story of a young university student, Minaya, who retreats to his uncle Manuel's mansion in an ancient city called Magina to write the biography of Jacinto Solana, a neglected poet the old man once knew. He quickly finds himself delving into a curious love triangle, while falling under the spell of a mysterious serving girl who works in the mansion. The book darts back and forth in time from the years before the war to the the war itself to its bitter aftermath, sometimes changing time within the same paragraph.
The effect is to produce a dreamlike narrative where nothing is quite what is seems and nobody can be trusted. The cast of characters also includes a pro-fascist sculptor who mass produces saints, the bitter old Dona of the household, a gay artist, Solana's stern father, a proud peasant farmer, his Communist lover and other assorted types. I wish I knew more about the Civil War because I take this book partly as an allegory about the fate of Spain during those tragic years.
Clearly the author has no sympathies with the fascists but he is equally stern about the Republicans. In one scene, a suspected Falangist spy is lynched in the town's main square. The message seems to be that whereas the right was bathed in butchery, the left also suffered a grievous moral failing.
Minaya uncovers a startling secret and the story becomes a weird mystery story. How exactly did the beautiful, yet elusive Mariana die on her wedding night? The answer is surprising -- and yet the plot and its resolution is secondary.
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Days after I finished this book, its peculiar beauty stayed with me, a little like Spain itself -- fascinating, languid and with a dark edge of violence. Mar 06, Ian rated it liked it. This was an "interesting" read for me.
At that time my Spanish was up to reading him in the original but almost twenty years on my command of the language is rather rusty and I was pleased to find a couple of his novels are available in translation. So I bought this book on the premise that I was being taken back to Magina - a city I already knew rather well in my mind. The first issue is This was an "interesting" read for me.
The first issue is the translation which is problematic to say the least.
Antonio Muñoz Molina - Wikipedia
Munoz is a member of the Spanish academy fairly sure of that but I haven't looked it up and really doesn't use Mexican colloquialisms. Some of the translations are just clunky, for example "Casa de Campo" literally translates as "country house" and that is what the translator uses here, but the usual translation into English is "cottage". There are many other examples. Partly as a result, the very long sentences - some of them half a page long - that seem natural in Spanish now appear lumpy and labyrinthine.
Having said that, the magic of Munoz by the way, how do you type an enya on an iPad? His best work deals with the alienation of the generation that grew up in Spain under the Franco dictatorship and this novel makes a contribution to the overall body of work. I just wish I had gritted my teeth and tackled the original - even if I would have needed a Spanish dictionary at hand throughout. View all 3 comments. Feb 07, Chip rated it it was ok. I just wrote a scathing review that goodreads. Bottom line: you don't shift points of view in the middle of a sentence.
You don't force your reader to backtrack endlessly to try and figure out who is saying what. That isn't mystery, it's damned inconvenient. Only masochism enabled me to finish this book, an excruciating three weeks I could have spent reading a host of other I just wrote a scathing review that goodreads. Only masochism enabled me to finish this book, an excruciating three weeks I could have spent reading a host of other books. I have the suspicion that these literary failings aren't the fault of the translator -- likely the author thought he was doing something experimental by dragging my eyeballs across the equivalent of broken glass the entire length of the book.
This approach is avant-garde, like an artist painting himself with turquoise paint and leaping into a cactus patch, and just as successful: he did it, but why? If this is the new direction of literature I'm sticking to the classics. While this book doesn't descend to the level of one-star Books I Loathe, it flies pretty close to the border. I gave it a second star for competent character development.
Someone described this book wrongly as hypnotic; it is instead tedious, tiresome and a relentless exercise in frustration. If you enjoy beating your head against a wall, read this book. If you have better things to do with your head, pick a different book to read. Aug 06, Sarah Eagle rated it liked it. This book had everything it needed to be excellent; fantastic characters, a compelling story with appetizing twists and a major turn at the end that would make you reel If it wasn't for the fact that it was revealed once already in the first hundred pages, and then carries on as if there's still mystery, as if it told you nothing.
This book can't get out of its own way. With everything it has going for it, it has a few critical errors that can't even be blamed upon the translation as this was This book had everything it needed to be excellent; fantastic characters, a compelling story with appetizing twists and a major turn at the end that would make you reel With everything it has going for it, it has a few critical errors that can't even be blamed upon the translation as this was originally in Spanish 1.
Little-no separation of character dialogue. No indents or entered spaces here. Blocks of text contain conversation between all characters present. And they won't always tell you who it is that's speaking. Conflicting narration. There is a third-person omniscient POV the beginning and most of the book interspersed with First-person POV of one of the characters but you don't find out who until later.
Timelines do not sync. Esoteric blurbs. If the book were more succinct, it would be fantastic. But it's like that one friend who keeps talking after it was socially acceptable for them to shut up. Envuelto por las omisiones, deseos y temores de los habitantes del cortijo, Minaya se acerca lentamente hacia la verdad oculta.
ISBN 13: 9788432216923
Seller Inventory ESB Never used!. Seller Inventory P Antonio Munoz Molina. Publisher: Seix Barral , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Language Notes : Text: Spanish "About this title" may belong to another edition of this title. Buy New View Book. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Seix B So it is hardly surprising when the reader discovers that, as in a Sherlock Holmes story, the details of Mariana's death don't quite add up. If she was shot from outside the window, as the official account has it, then why was there dirt on the front of her nightgown, as though she had fallen forward?
And what about the spent cartridge found on the floor of the room, which Minaya discovers among Solana's personal effects? The house, in fact, is teeming with sinister characters who could easily fit the role of villain. There is the sculptor Utrera, an old drunk who has prostituted his gift to the Franco regime; and there is Dona Elvira, Manuel's embittered old mother, who never comes down from her bedroom lair. It even begins to seem that Solana and Manuel, too, might have motives for murder. Solana, Minaya discovers, loved Mariana for years but was never brave enough to declare himself.
Could jealousy of her marriage to his best friend have led the poet to kill? Did Manuel find out that, on the night before the wedding, Solana and Mariana finally acted on their passion? There is something rapturously Gothic about the whole setup, and Mr. Grossman, is correspondingly purple. The book is written in incantatory run-on sentences, intoxicated with sensual details, whether the subject is the Spanish landscape or the body of Ines, Minaya's lover: "Urged on by the dark breath that had revived more deeply when he was drinking from her womb, he moved up to her breasts, her chin, her mouth, the damp hair that covered her cheekbones, and then he felt that he was disappearing, quivering motionless, lucid, suspended at the edge of a sweetness from which there was no return.
But below the romantic surface, Mr. He reportedly began writing "Beatus ille" after Franco's death in , and Minaya's quest is clearly an allegory for a generation emerging from dictatorship, in search of its own truths about the past. This symbolic dimension is what lends real weight to the novel's otherwise contrived final twist. The past, Mr. Submission of reader comments is restricted to NY Sun sustaining members only. If you are not yet a member, please click here to join.
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