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Thus Bad Begins: A Novel
(OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen)

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Published:
HighBridge 2016
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Available from OverDrive
Description
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:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
11/01/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781681682815
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Javier Marias. (2016). Thus Bad Begins: A Novel. Unabridged HighBridge.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Javier Marias. 2016. Thus Bad Begins: A Novel. HighBridge.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Javier Marias, Thus Bad Begins: A Novel. HighBridge, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Javier Marias. Thus Bad Begins: A Novel. Unabridged HighBridge, 2016.

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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Grouped Work ID:
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Oct 30, 2020 17:18:42
Date Updated:
Dec 08, 2020 21:11:05
Last Metadata Check:
Jun 26, 2022 14:56:53
Last Metadata Change:
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Last Availability Check:
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Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Jun 30, 2022 02:08:35

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Thus Bad Begins
fullDescription
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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        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.

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        February 27, 2017
        Voice actor Fass raises to the challenge of reciting Marías’s latest novel, which is told from the perspective of Juan De Vere, a 23-year-old assistant to the Spanish film director Eduardo Muriel. The story is set in Spain in 1980, five years after the death of Franco—a period of the transition for Spain and its citizens. The damage of his dictatorship is very much present throughout, as De Vere becomes aware of the lasting effects of Franco’s regime and grapples with who did what to whom in the fascist era and who is to be forgiven and who punished, how and by whom. The title of the book is taken from Act III of Hamlet: “Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.” In keeping with the novel’s tone, Fass reads in a vocal range that is dreary, yet often seductive, and sometimes tense or jocular. The challenge to both reader and listener is intensified by Marías’s style of prose, which mirrors life’s complexity by beginning each sentence with a thought, then digressing from or contradicting or narrowing or expanding it. Conjunctions link long, breathless trains of thought together throughout. A Knopf hardcover.

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