Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Voyage along The Horizon by Javier Marias (trans. from the Spanish by Kristina Cordero)is a tale within a novel within a novel in which the classic sea-faring yarn gets a delightful Verne-Perec spin -- which is to say a kind of forward rushing energetic detail rich narrative stream (Verne) cut by a painstakingly organized Russian doll plot structure and more than a tinge of sadness, defeat and incomplete completion (Perec). The book was started when Marias was 19 and finished soon after. Believer Books has it out in a handsome Tintin-inflected edition that will hopefully find its way out into the English-speaking world quickly. Marias is an international titan who is relatively little translated and less known on our shores (though The Believer and other venues have been doing their best to correct this). His work grew darker, moodier, deeper after Voyage along The Horizon but that doesn't keep it from being an excellent place to start an exploration of this excellent writer's work.


Anonymous CALEB WILSON said...

I read about that one on a "what's new" email from McSweeney's. Looks neat. Sounds like maybe Marias keeps the things I like about Verne novels and jettisons some of the things I don't. And then puts the whole thing in a blender?


11:23 AM  
Blogger Laird Hunt said...

Not a blender, exactly -- maybe more like a high-tech food processor, one with precision settings. Marias is in control the whole time. Not bad for someone who finished the book when he was 21. In the afterword (which is a series of Believer questions and Marias answers), he calls Conrad and James his big influences at that stage of his writing life. Well, maybe. With some Tintin thrown in.

9:53 PM  

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