Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Allí Donde Uno Diría Que Ya No Puede Haber Nada. Tu Rostro Mañana De Javier Marías

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Allí Donde Uno Diría Que Ya No Puede Haber Nada. Tu Rostro Mañana De Javier Marías

Article excerpt

Alexis Grohmann and Maarten Steenmeijer (eds.). Allí donde uno diría que ya no puede haber nada. Tu rostro mañana de Javier Marías. Amsterdam: Rodopi. 2009. ISBN: 978-9-042-025-943.

The book under review is a collection of articles on Tu rostro mañana, the widely acclaimed novel by Spain's most important contemporary writer, Javier Marías. Allí donde uno diría is divided into three sections. The first usefully reproduces the 'discurso de ingreso' Marías gave on his investiture into the Real Academia Española in April 2008, alongside Francisco Rico's (somewhat paternalistic) reply. The second gathers together a selection of early Spanish press reviews of Tu rostro mañana, as well as an insightful attempt by César Pérez Gracia to show how Marías's engagement with Laurence Sterne shapes the characterization of Sir Peter Wheeler, one of the novel's central figures. Making up the third and most substantial section are the chapters by an impressive collection of scholars whose names will be familiar to experts in the field of the contemporary Spanish novel.

The editors timed publication of Allí donde uno diría to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the appearance of the threevolume novel's final instalment. Most of their contributors rise well to the not inconsiderable challenge of producing an 8,000- word chapter on a novel that, in its final published form, is more than 1,600 pages in length. But it cannot be coincidental - and it is hard to resist the conclusion - that the volume's most valuable contributions are also its longest. While most of the chapters comprise approximately 15 pages, those by Sebastian Faber and Antonio Iriarte occupy 32 and 63 respectively. The latter takes on the Herculean task of identifying all the quotations that the narrator obsessively returns to in the course of his account. As an insight into the breadth of Marías's cultural frame of reference, Iriarte's work is invaluable. Faber, meanwhile, uses the opportunity to follow up two thoughtful review articles in the Revista Hispánica Moderna with an examination of precisely how Marías's novel relates to contemporary debates in Spain on historical memory and their depiction in documentary film, fiction, and recent legislation. What makes his chapter stand out from others in the volume, in particular the one that immediately follows it, Isabel Cuñado's less detailed attempt to tackle the same subject, is its robust assessment of Marías's stance. …

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