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Thus Bad Begins: A Novel
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2016
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**Named a Best Book of the Year by the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times**From the internationally acclaimed author of The Infatuations comes the mesmerizing story of a couple living in the shadow of a mysterious, unhappy history—a novel about the cruel, tender punishments we exact on those we love. Madrid, 1980. Juan de Vere, nearly finished with his university degree, takes a job as personal assistant to Eduardo Muriel, an eccentric, once-successful film director. Urbane, discreet, irreproachable, Muriel is an irresistible idol to the young man. But Muriel's voluptuous wife, Beatriz, inhabits their home like an unwanted ghost; and on the periphery of their lives is Dr. Jorge Van Vechten, a family friend implicated in unsavory rumors that Muriel now asks Juan to investigate. As Juan draws closer to the truth, he uncovers only more questions. What is at the root of Muriel's hostility toward his wife? How did Beatriz meet Van Vechten? What happened during the war? Marías leads us deep into the intrigues of these characters, through a daring exploration of rancor, suspicion, loyalty, trust, and the infinitely permeable boundaries between the deceptions perpetrated on us by others and those we inflict upon ourselves.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/01/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101946091
ASIN:
B01BJSSZXU
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APA Citation (style guide)

Javier Marías. (2016). Thus Bad Begins: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Javier Marías. 2016. Thus Bad Begins: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Javier Marías, Thus Bad Begins: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Javier Marías. Thus Bad Begins: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: JAVIER MARÍAS was born in Madrid in 1951. The recipient of numerous prizes, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Prix Femina Étranger, he has written fourteen novels, three story collections, and twenty works of collected articles and essays. His books have been translated into forty-three languages, in fifty-five countries, and have sold more than eight million copies throughout the world.
        Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa.
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Vintage
publishDate
2016-11-01T00:00:00-04:00
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title
Thus Bad Begins
fullDescription
**Named a Best Book of the Year by the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times**
From the internationally acclaimed author of The Infatuations comes the mesmerizing story of a couple living in the shadow of a mysterious, unhappy history—a novel about the cruel, tender punishments we exact on those we love.
Madrid, 1980. Juan de Vere, nearly finished with his university degree, takes a job as personal assistant to Eduardo Muriel, an eccentric, once-successful film director. Urbane, discreet, irreproachable, Muriel is an irresistible idol to the young man. But Muriel's voluptuous wife, Beatriz, inhabits their home like an unwanted ghost; and on the periphery of their lives is Dr. Jorge Van Vechten, a family friend implicated in unsavory rumors that Muriel now asks Juan to investigate. As Juan draws closer to the truth, he uncovers only more questions. What is at the root of Muriel's hostility toward his wife? How did Beatriz meet Van Vechten? What happened during the war? Marías leads us deep into the intrigues of these characters, through a daring exploration of rancor, suspicion, loyalty, trust, and the infinitely permeable boundaries between the deceptions perpetrated on us by others and those we inflict upon ourselves.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 8, 2016
        Reviewed by Álvaro Enrigue
        Javier Marías has entered that rarefied space in which a writer becomes essential to society. He is a critical conscience who can express what philosophers and political scientists can’t. The subtle perfection with which he exposes trivial acts, in turn revealing silent, shady agreements that add grease to the political machinery of society, has injected new vigor into the otherwise antiquated Spanish realism. His work is a call for political responsibility in everyday civil life.
        Marías sets Thus Bad Begins in an aberrant moment in recent Spanish history: the years between the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and the moment in 1981 when the country overcame the shadow of Catholic totalitarianism by finally ratifying a law that allowed divorce in 1981.
        Thanks to family connections, a recent graduate from college gets a position as the personal assistant of a mid-ranking film director. The job description includes script correction, entertaining guests, and keeping company with the director’s mentally abused wife. The novel takes off when the director asks the assistant to embark on a murky investigation to find out whether some ugly rumors about one of his friends are true. The research takes the young man through the last phases of his coming-of-age as he discovers that the liberties his generation enjoys are based on an agreement of silence between the winners and losers of the Spanish Civil War. This agreement translated into a humiliator/humiliated relationship during the unbearable 36 years of Franco’s fundamentalist regime. The director’s household—his miserable marriage, which can’t be dissolved, and the court of literati and celebrities who make up his regular entourage—becomes a metaphor of the bigger house of Spain and the decisions taken by the political and cultural elites to rush into an open society, skipping all effort to bring any closure to past wounds.
        If historical periods were lives, Thus Bad Begins would be situated in the infancy of the democratic pro-European Spain of our time and its little dramas and glories, its actual deficiencies and virtues. It’s not that Marías pretends to analyze Spain on the Freudian couch—Spanish society is famously impervious to psychoanalysis and its by-products; it’s that by placing his story during that moment in history, the author can propose a theory about the reckless exchange of values in a society that went from ultraconservative to ultraliberal in record time.
        Marías acquired recognition as a master storyteller thanks to his natural hand at developing complex plot lines and a style that redefined the notion of precision in Spanish writing. As years go by, his writing—rendered into English with grace by Margaret Jull Costa so that I never felt as though I was reading a translation—is still that of a virtuoso. His storytelling has evolved into a more reflexive, denser, meditative voice. Thus Bad Begins is a novel, of course, but it could be perfectly read, too, as a beautiful, savage essay on hypocrisy.
        Álvaro Enrigue’s most recent novel, Sudden Death, was published in the U.S. by Riverhead. Enrigue was born in Mexico and lives in New York City.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        The eternally fraught question of whether it is better to punish or forgive takes both personal and political forms in the celebrated Spanish novelist's latest (The Infatuations, 2013, etc.).Just finishing up his degree in English, 23-year-old Juan de Vere goes to work for Eduardo Muriel, a past-his-prime film director who needs Juan's help pitching projects to low-rent English-speaking producers like Harry Alan Towers (a historical figure whose real-life antics are deftly employed to underscore Marias' central argument). Moving into a spare room in Muriel's Madrid apartment, Juan witnesses the director's brutally disdainful treatment of his wife, Beatriz, including a late-night confrontation during which he bitterly blames her for a youthful deception disclosed many years later. Excavating the past is not a popular activity in Spain in 1980. Franco has been dead for nearly five years, and the country has its first elected government in four decades. With the promise of legalized divorce and other liberating measures in the air, "denouncing someone for what they had done during the dictatorship or during the [Civil] War was unthinkable" Juan says; exculpatory silence is "the price we have to pay for a return to normality." Even though it is Muriel who asks Juan to investigate an ugly rumor about his longtime friend Jorge Van Vechten, a prominent doctor generally considered to have mitigated his loyalty to the fascist regime by treating persecuted Loyalist families free of charge, the director soon decides he doesn't want to know. His explanation, "It doesn't matter if what I was told is true," could stand as a motto for post-Franco Spain. Marias neither condemns nor excuses this deliberate amnesia, preferring to focus on the mutability of truth and the mysteries of human behavior--themes as familiar to his readers as the marvelously idiosyncratic sentences in which he winds through subordinate clauses and piles one idea on top of another to achieve a dazzling textual equivalent of life's endless complexity. Another challenging, boundary-stretching work from Marias, complete with a jaw-dropping last-chapter revelation. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2016
        Spanish novelist Marias established himself as a big name in America with 2013's "The Infatuations", getting front-page coverage in the "New York Times", national best-selling status, best-book nods, and a nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Here, young Juan de Vere becomes personal assistant to once glittering film director Eduardo Muriel. Soon he's investigating rumors about a family friend and his relationship with Muriel's glamorous but scorned wife, as well as secrets from the early days of Franco's regime. Says the "Guardian", "a demonstration of what fiction at its best can achieve."

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        October 1, 2016
        The Spanish Civil War was a dark and complicated clash of cultural and political factions in the mid-1930s, resulting in the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. In highly respected Spanish novelist Marias' new work, his fourteenth, the setting is Madrid in 1980, and we quickly see that political tensions have continued to reverberate as demonstrated by the story of Juan De Vere, the young personal assistant to a prominent Spanish movie director, Eduardo Muriel. The first thing Juan observes is the distance between Muriel and his wife, Beatriz. What is the source of their animosity? And what is the role played in their lives by Muriel's friend, Dr. Jorge Van Vechten? As Juan pieces together Muriel's life story, he also wonders why Muriel has confided in him as much as he has. Years pass and Juan learns that the bonds of deceit and unhappiness are the strongest of all, as are those of error; they may bind even more closely than those of openness, contentment, and sincerity. Marias reveals how insidiously oppression skews personal lives and relationships year after year.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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**Named a Best Book of the Year by the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times**
From the internationally acclaimed author of The Infatuations comes the mesmerizing story of a couple living in the shadow of a mysterious, unhappy history—a novel about the cruel, tender punishments we exact on those we love.
Madrid, 1980. Juan de Vere, nearly finished with his university degree, takes a job as personal assistant to Eduardo Muriel, an eccentric, once-successful film director. Urbane, discreet, irreproachable, Muriel is an irresistible idol to the young man. But Muriel's voluptuous wife, Beatriz, inhabits their home like an unwanted ghost; and on the periphery of their lives is Dr. Jorge Van Vechten, a family friend implicated in unsavory rumors that Muriel now asks Juan to investigate. As Juan draws closer to the truth, he uncovers only more questions. What is at the root of Muriel's hostility toward his wife? How did Beatriz meet Van...
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