Javier Marías is no longer with us. The friend is gone and the writer is gone. It’s hard to believe, it’s hard to get used to the idea that the dialogue with the friend is over, it’s hard to accept it. But, at the same time, Javier Marías will always be with us, because his legacy, not as a friend ––but also, because he has been a loyal, generous, lucid, understanding, affectionate and considerate friend like few others, no matter how much he hesitate to draw our attention––, but as a writer, he will survive through his literature that will resist death and the passage of time like few other great literary works, because it is this type of universal literature that will be appreciated even more Over the years, no doubt. There is no doubt that from now on his figure will be even bigger. Because Javier Marías was one of our greatest European writers of all time.
It is backed up not so much by figures, but by the prolific and long career spanning more than half a century of an author translated into more than 46 languages, published in 59 countries, with nine million copies of his works sold and recognized by the world as one of the outstanding writers, as well as the fact that their literature is something alive. Every time a book of his is read or reread, it takes on new life, the reader renews a contact that is never identical to the previous one and that is transformed by a language and stories that never stop giving more of themselves, and something new. .
For professional and personal reasons, I have spent most of my life studying and teaching his work at the university and I have been forced to read and reread many of his novels 10, 12 or 20 times in various cases, and never, not even once, it has been repetitive or tiring for me to reread any of them. The renewed contact with the work of a cosmopolitan writer who inserted himself from the beginning in universal literature avoiding national borders, who has been characterized by a search for a narrative and generic freedom, playfully exercised and claimed, is longed for, and each one of his works is read to a certain extent with a new joy and pleasure, also because each time he gives something more of himself, something new, a sentence or the story is read in a different way, they take on a fresh, original, always lively meaning. .
That is why I have come to the conclusion and the definition that a classic book, a great book, for me is this: a book that one never tires of rereading, over and over again, because it always retains a freshness and vigor that they are renewed with each reading and that they are never the same as before; it always brings something unknown before, something surprising or even amazing, new echoes are always discovered in the words, it always makes one think again about the things of the world. Javier’s books are all classics, already.
This, among many other things, is what Javier Marías has taught us, the writer who through his literature has not stopped disturbing the universe in some way (as we pointed out in a recent introduction to a book of essays on his work). , to use a metaphor used by Tomás Nevinson in his last homonymous novel in a darker context. Now that we say goodbye to our friend, we have the not insignificant consolation of knowing that his work and his words will continue to accompany us, comforting, stimulating and also disturbing us and future readers forever.
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