Swansong for Spain’s king of spy fiction

One cannot help but be drawn into the labyrinthine world of Javier Marías, the masterful Spanish novelist, as he unfurls the intricate narrative of "Tomás Nevinson." In this complex tale, Marías explores the depths of human character and the shadowy realm of espionage, subterfuge, and political machinations.

At the heart of the narrative lies Tomás Nevinson, an ex-agent wearied by the clandestine world he once inhabited. It is the psychopathic spymaster Bertram Tupra who lures Nevinson back into the fray, urging him to undertake one final mission. Thus, our protagonist finds himself navigating the provincial streets of Spain in search of a former IRA terrorist, a key player in the Hipercor bombing of 1987.

Marías' prose is nothing short of mesmerizing, as he deftly constructs Jamesian, self-qualifying sentences that demand the reader's undivided attention. The allusive narrative voice further serves to bewitch, leading one through a tale that is both nonsensical and undeniably compelling.

Despite a foundation built upon a blend of comic and erotic elements, "Tomás Nevinson" takes a dark turn as Marías incorporates the real-life murder of politician Miguel Ángel Blanco into the fabric of the story. It is this juxtaposition of the absurd and the tragically real that elevates the novel to new heights.

In conclusion, "Tomás Nevinson" is a resplendent gem in the literary oeuvre of Javier Marías, and it is only fitting to commend the exceptional efforts of translator Margaret Jull Costa for her skill in rendering the nuances of the original Spanish text. Thus, it is with great enthusiasm that one recommends this novel to those seeking an intellectually stimulating journey through the intricacies of the human condition and the enigmatic world of espionage.


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