Advertising | Metro Eireann | Top News | Contact Us
Governor Uduaghan awarded the 2013 International Outstanding Leadership Award  •   South African Ambassador to leave  •   Roddy's back with his new exclusive "Brown-Eyed Boy"  •  
Print E-mail

Book Review by Jeanette Rehnstrom

Last update - Saturday, February 1, 2014, 02:27 By Metro Éireann

Dark Back of Time By Javier Marías (Penguin)

A friend of mine died suddenly last year. His family and friends reeled from the shock. One way of dealing with it took take place on his Facebook page, which his family had decided to leave open, and where his loved ones poured out and shared their grief and memories. Although initially I felt conflicted by the lack of privacy that this forum offered, in the end I agreed that it was a lovely way of connecting both with the people to whom he meant so much, and to him, wherever he now was.
Dark Back of Time is Javier Marías’ adaption of a Shakespearean phrase that he uses to refer to a state of non-existence, and whatever happens in that unimaginable place or ether. Marías dedicates the book both to his beloved deceased mother and to a younger brother who passed away before he was born, and as the book proceeds one understands how it is his way of connecting with both that which he has known, and that which he has not yet is linked to him.
To Marías, writing, and especially fictional writing, is a way to connect beyond that which we know. Although he is not fond of hocus-pocus, he believes that books find you, to communicate with you.
In 1992, Marías’ novel All Souls caused a bit of a stir as it seemed to be based on the lives of people still living in Oxford, where the author had spent time teaching. Dark Back of Time initially works as a way of putting things straight in regards to All Souls, but then begins to ponder the reasons why academics (and others) want to lay claim to fictional characters, and what it means to be part of a fictional world rather than a more precise and short-lived present – as in, for example, academic work.
Marías seems to suggest that fiction lasts longer by the reasoning that it does not belong to time in such a strict sense as do scientific facts. Facts die when they are no longer true, but the untruth, the story, the confabulated, the fiction has never existed and therefore might still someday come into existence.
It is that huge realm in which we do not live that cocoons our short lives; the forever and ever, the emptiness or the openness, depending on how you want to look at it. It is that abyss into which Marías hollers his words and from which he receives reverberations of something that excites him and soothes his way through life.
We pretend throughout our lives that we are unique, although we are interchangeable, to give us purpose and motive, and we pretend that this pretence is not real. Hence the pretence is actual life.

Latest News:
Latest Video News:
Photo News:
Kerry drinking and driving
How do you feel about the Kerry County Councillor\'s recent passing of legislation to allow a limited amount of drinking and driving?
I agree with the passing, it is acceptable
I disagree with the passing, it is too dangerous
I don\'t have a strong opinion either way
Quick Links