(From the publisher):
Described by its author a "false novel," Dark Back of Time
begins with the tale of the odd effects of publishing All Souls
, his 1989 Oxford novel. All Souls
is a book Marías swears to be fiction, but which its "characters"—the real-life dons and professors and bookshop owners who have "recognized themselves"—fiercely maintain to be a roman à clef
. They claim certain roles for their own—and
for others: the narrator's mistress has been firmly identified as a certain don's wife. Marías marvels as a world that seemed nearly asleep is set into fretful motion by a world that never "existed."
Yet this backwash of All Souls only begins an odyssey into the nature of identity ("we do not know anyone entirely, not even ourselves") and of time. Marías weaves together autobiography (the brother who died as a child; the loss of his mother), a legendary kingdom, strange ghostly literary figures, a one-eyed pilot, a curse in Havana, a bullet lost in Mexico. Dark Back of Time explores the power of art and reality as well as of memories, which become only the more mysterious the more Marías remembers.
Original title: Negra espalda del tiempo
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Literary Fiction/classics