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Tomás Nevinson: A novel (Hardcover)
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The final novel from Spain's most acclaimed writer, a novel about a charismatic half-Spanish, half-English man who is recruited by British intelligence
“Javier Marías’s best work.” —El País
Retired spy Tomás Nevinson—once an agent for the British Secret Service, now living a quiet life in his hometown, Madrid—is approached by his former handler, Bertram Tupra, with an offer to bring him back in from the cold for one last assignment.
The mission: to go undercover again, in a small Spanish town, to find out which of three women who moved there a decade ago is in fact a terrorist trained by the IRA, on the run after masterminding several deadly attacks.
Everything about the assignment is shadowy, from exactly who is in charge, to the question of what “justice” Nevinson will need to mete out once he unmasks the terrorist. But, lured by the appeal of being back on the inside, he accepts the job.
Nevinson soon becomes intimately involved with each of the three women. How—or whom—to choose among them? Under increasing pressure, he must choose, and then act . . .
Charting a world in which right and wrong, good and evil, are irreparably blurred, Javier Marías takes us on a journey of rare and unforgettable suspense in this, the final novel written before his untimely passing.
About the Author
JAVIER MARÍAS was born in Madrid in 1951. He has published fifteen novels, including The Infatuations and A Heart So White, as well as three collections of short stories and several volumes of essays. His work has been translated into forty-four languages, has sold nine million copies worldwide, and has won a dazzling array of international literary awards, including the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Prix Femina Étranger. He died in 2022.
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa
Praise for Tomás Nevinson
“An ingenious premise . . . Marías plays deliberately and unsettlingly with the appearance of real and terrible events in the middle of a novel that owes such an obvious debt to the pleasures of genre . . . In one of Nevinson’s conversations with the socialist wife, they ‘agreed that really good authors—who, according to her, were getting fewer in number—managed “magically” (her rather affected word) to make us believe their stories and passionately engage with them’ . . . This, of course, is a very good description of Marías himself, who died last year from Covid complications. Which means that number has become even smaller.” —Benjamin Markovits, New York Times Book Review
“Engrossing . . . No-one nowadays writes prose like Javier Marías . . . In Tomás Nevinson, Marías demonstrates why so many of his peers believe him to be among the greatest of contemporary novelists. Like a secret agent, he is an observer and an eavesdropper, and an inventor. If you’re already a fan, you’ll know what to expect and rejoice. If you’re not, what a treat you have in store.” —Rosemary Goring, Herald Scotland
“Magnificently evocative . . . The style is Sebald meets John le Carré.” —Jeremy Cliffe, New Statesman
“His writing is often thrilling in a way that’s distinct from any other author I know . . . His novels come to us in stunning translations by Margaret Jull Costa . . . Reading him can become an addiction . . . Once you’ve been inside Marías’s world, to spend too long outside is unbearable.” —Chris Power, Sunday Times (U.K.)
“Comparisons to Proust and Henry James come up a lot when critics discuss Marías, but we could also see his style, his performance, as something akin to a too-late Balzac, aided perhaps by a disciple of the Ancient Mariner . . . The only other novel I know that works in this way is Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life.” —Michael Wood, London Review of Books
“A splendid swansong for Spain’s king of spy fiction . . . Javier Marías had already established himself as the leading Spanish novelist of his generation by the time he turned to spy fiction [but] when he died last year the obituaries concluded that his espionage novels were his greatest achievement: the conventions of the genre provided the perfect framework for his investigations into the essentially amorphous and unknowable nature of human character . . . [Spymaster Bertram Tupra is] one of the most memorable characters in modern fiction . . . What really makes his novels enthralling is the irresistible ruminative, allusive narrative voice . . . A new Marías book is always an exhilarating pleasure and one I’ll miss dreadfully.” —Jake Kerridge, The Telegraph
“One of the most acclaimed Spanish authors of his generation, Marías has always been interested in the spaces between genres . . . a writer who loves the propulsiveness of the thriller, the page-turning compulsion that drives a reader through Eric Ambler or John le Carré . . . Tomás Nevinson is brilliant on the daily vexations of the spy’s life . . . There’s always a profound interest in the human condition in Marías, the sense of an author who uses the tools of postmodernism to ask deep questions about the way we engage with each other and perceive ourselves. For Marías, much like Marilynne Robinson or J.M. Coetzee, the novel is a vital and powerful vehicle for philosophical inquiry . . . With Tomás Nevinson, we are left with a great last novel by which to remember him.” —Alex Preston, Financial Times
“Marías mesmerises us again and we are swept on by the long, powerful swells of his prose, flawlessly translated by Margaret Jull Costa . . . This is a spy thriller, but it reads like one transposed into music by Philip Glass . . . A many-layered meditation on mortality and memory and free will and its opposite.” —Lucy Hughes-Hallett, The Guardian
“Seductively conversational and glinting with slantwise humour . . . It’s serious stuff but there’s room for lightness as well . . . Inescapably poignant . . . Keep them coming, you think, knowing there’s no more left.” —Anthony Cummins, The Observer
“It may well be that Tomás Nevinson is Javier Marías’s best work” —José-Carlos Mainer, El País
“Tomás Nevinson is brilliant proof of Marías’s elegance and literary gifts, such that it stands with his most important books. It is his definitive work.” —Karina Sainz Borgo, Voz Populi
“It’s impossible to decide if this is his best novel—there are so many that could be considered his best. It is, in any case, one of those that will appeal most to readers, for its narrative tension.” —Juan Antonio Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia
“As accessible as an Agatha Christie Miss Marple mystery, or a John le Carré novel.” —Francesc Miró, El Diario
“I haven’t tired of the novel for a single moment . . . Not for nothing is Marías considered one of the greatest storytellers in all of Europe.” —Paco Huelva, Todo Literatura
“Extraordinary.” —Nadal Suau, El Cultural
“Whenever I read Marías I have the sensation that I’m listening to a symphony.” —Julia Navarro, Hoy por Hoy Valladolid (Cadena Ser radio)
“A powerful story with a giant pulse . . . Amazing.” —Antonio Lucas, El Mundo
“Marías writes, as always, like no one else . . . because he is up to something else: to elevate us, to do for us—why not?—what Shakespeare did for his time and for the people of his time.” —Alberto Olmos, El Confidencial
“Essential . . . Marías unfolds an entire narrative universe to offer us a great, ambitious novel of profound reflection.” —Javier García Recio, La Opinión de Málaga
“It bears repeating: a colossal novel.” —Guillermo Rodríguez, El HuffPost
“I would like to be in the shoes of someone who has not yet read the latest novel by Javier Marías and is waiting for it in a bookstore. What a feast is in store for you.” —José Carlos Llop, The Objective