While the Women Are Sleeping

Overview

Slippery figures in anomalous situations — ghosts, spies, bodyguards, criminals — haunt these stories by Javier Marías: the characters come bearing their strange and special secrets, and never leave our minds. In one story, a man obsessed with his much younger lover endlessly videotapes her every move, and then confides his surprising plans for her; in another a ghost can’t stop resigning from his job. Masterfully, Marías manages in a small space to perplex and delight. “The short story fits Marías like a glove,”...

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While the Women Are Sleeping

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Overview

Slippery figures in anomalous situations — ghosts, spies, bodyguards, criminals — haunt these stories by Javier Marías: the characters come bearing their strange and special secrets, and never leave our minds. In one story, a man obsessed with his much younger lover endlessly videotapes her every move, and then confides his surprising plans for her; in another a ghost can’t stop resigning from his job. Masterfully, Marías manages in a small space to perplex and delight. “The short story fits Marías like a glove,” as Le Point noted. His stories have been hailed as “formidably intelligent” (The London Review of Books),
“a bracing tonic” (Chicago Tribune), and “startling” (The New York Times Book Review).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
These 10 stories underscore Marias's mastery of the surreal and evasive, but nobody will confuse this sampler of leftover stories with the author's best work. In the satisfying title story, an unnamed narrator, lying on the beach with his wife, can't stop speculating about the lives of another pair of beach goers: a much older man and a beautiful young woman named Inés. He eventually befriends the man, Alberto Viana, who confesses a desperate obsession with Inés, but Alberto's story doesn't satisfy the narrator, as it doesn't jibe with his invented scenario. The other longish story, "The Resignation Letter of Señor de Santiesteban," follows a young teacher named Derek Lilburn, whose new post at a prestigious school is jeopardized when he can't accept the existence of the story's title character, a benign ghost. Most of the rest of the stories feel under-developed, like sketches inspired by a clever idea, from doppelgängers to being stuck on an elevator. Marias (the Your Face Tomorrow trilogy) is a brilliant stylist and formidable intellect, but this haphazard collection does little to further his reputation. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811216630
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/29/2010
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Javier Marías is an award-winning Spanish novelist. He is also a translator and columnist, as well as the current king of Redonda. He was born in Madrid in 1951 and published his first novel at the age of nineteen. He has held academic posts in Spain, the US (he was a visiting professor at Wellesley College) and Britain, as a lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University. He has been translated into 34 languages, and more than six million copies of his books have been sold worldwide. In 1997 he won the Nelly Sachs Award; the Comunidad de Madrid award in 1998; in 2000 the Grinzane Cavour Award, the Alberto Moravia Prize, and the Dublin IMPAC Award. He also won the Spanish National Translation Award in 1979 for his translation of Tristram Shandy in 1979. He was a professor at Oxford University and the Complutense of Madrid. He currently lives in Madrid.

Margaret Jull Costa won both the 2008 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize and the 2008 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for Eca de Queiros’s The Maias. She is also the translator of the work of Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, and Javier Marías.

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