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Dance and Dream by Javier Marías Review

Title: Dance and Dream

Author: Javier Marías

First published January 1, 2004

341 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780811216562 (ISBN10: 081121656X)

Rating: 4.27


Javier Marias’s sequel to Fever and Spear, Dance and Dream, is a captivating novel that takes readers on a thrilling ride through the world of espionage. Continuing the story of Jacques Deza, now working for MI6, the book delves into the darker side of his new employer.

As Deza navigates through the murky waters of his job, he is forced to question his loyalty to the agency and his own moral compass. The story revolves around a mysterious nightclub scene, which is skillfully constructed to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Marias’s vivid descriptions of the Spanish Civil War, intertwined with meditations on jealousy, knowledge, and human desire, make for an unforgettable literary experience.

About the Author

Javier Marías, a Spanish novelist, translator, and columnist, was renowned for his literary contributions. His work has been translated into an impressive 42 languages, reflecting his global outreach.

Born in Madrid, Marías was the son of philosopher Julián Marías, who faced imprisonment and a teaching ban for opposing Franco’s regime. During his childhood, Marías spent some time in the United States as his father taught at various institutions, including Yale University and Wellesley College.

Sadly, Marías lost his mother at the young age of 26. He attended the Colegio Estudio in Madrid for his education.

Marías began his writing journey at an early age and wrote “The Life and Death of Marcelino Iturriaga,” one of the short stories in his book, “While the Women are Sleeping,” at the age of 14. He also penned his first novel, “Los dominios del lobo” (The Dominions of the Wolf), at age 17 after running away to Paris.

Apart from writing, Marías also operated a small publishing house called Reino de Redonda and wrote a weekly column in El País. One of his columns, “La Zona Fantasma,” is published in English in the monthly magazine The Believer.

In 1997, Marías earned the Nelly Sachs Prize, a significant accomplishment in his illustrious career.

Editoral Review

Dance and Dream by Javier Maras is a thought-provoking and engaging work that offers a glimpse into the complexities of human relationships and the transformative power of art. An esteemed Spanish author, Maras weaves a captivating tale of love, loss, and redemption that is sure to resonate with readers from all walks of life.

Set against the backdrop of modern-day Madrid, Dance and Dream tells the story of Ranz, a middle-aged man who is struggling to come to terms with the recent death of his wife. As he navigates the emotional turmoil of grief, Ranz finds solace in the magical world of flamenco, a vibrant and exotic dance form that embodies the passion and intensity of the Spanish spirit.

At its core, Dance and Dream is a meditation on the power of art to heal and transform the human soul. Throughout the novel, Maras explores the ways in which the creative process can serve as a vehicle for personal growth, helping individuals forge a deeper connection with themselves and the world around them.

Despite its philosophical themes, Dance and Dream is also a richly crafted story with a cast of memorable characters that will capture readers’ hearts. From the fiery flamenco dancer who inspires Ranz to the enigmatic painter whose work speaks to his deepest fears and desires, Maras populates his novel with a host of fascinating personalities who bring the story to life.

In terms of style, Maras is a master storyteller who employs a lush, evocative prose that transports the reader to the heart of Madrid’s vibrant and colorful streets. His use of metaphor and symbolism is occasionally heavy-handed, but more often than not, it serves to heighten the emotional impact of the story, adding depth and nuance to the characters and their struggles.

There are, however, a few weaknesses in the book that bear mentioning. At times, the pacing drags, and the novel’s focus on internal reflection and introspection can be somewhat tedious.

Additionally, the book’s themes of grief and loss may be difficult for some readers to stomach, particularly those who have experienced similar traumas in their own lives. Overall, Dance and Dream is a rewarding and compelling work that showcases Maras’ considerable talents as a writer.

As a meditation on the transformative power of art and the complexities of human relationships, it is sure to leave a lasting impression on readers. Highly recommended for fans of literary fiction, and anyone who appreciates a well-crafted story.

4.5/5 stars.

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