“I have two days where I can’t stand the sadness. Marías wouldn’t have liked so much bullshit,” begins reader Alejandra Arzeno Kerr in her farewell letter to the writer and columnist for The weekly state Javier Marías, who died on 9/11. “I worked for many years as a Spanish teacher and translator and every Sunday I longed for Marías to dedicate the article to the rigor that language and translation require. Then my obsession with play came to look with a magnifying glass and bad milk for anglicisms in their printed texts: “I got you, it’s an anglicism!” says Arceno.
After the writer’s death, the editorial office of EL PAÍS received hundreds of messages from his admirers. Some commented on social networks, others sent their condolences in the form of emails addressed to Berna González Harbor, who in her morning newsletter EL PAÍS left her mailbox open to all who wanted to dedicate a few words to Marías.
Mariana Pineda wanted to comment on the latest column written by the Madrid author for The weekly state. “I will guard this item like gold in cloth. It is a brilliant and magnificent culmination of this section, which has always been the first I read every Sunday with such pleasure”. A phrase repeated dozens of times in the comments of his readers, who every Sunday started reading the Sunday magazine of EL PAÍS with the article about The Phantom Zone, a space that the writer owned for almost two decades. “It was now a tradition to drink coffee on Sundays, read your column, then comment, ‘What is Marias complaining about today?'” He didn’t agree with many of his opinions, nor did he need to. I kept reading it,” says Christina Angita.
Pilar Rota says that three days before Marías’ death, she spoke to a friend about her books. “I told him, ‘I’m finishing one H. Marias novel and I’m already waiting for the next one.’ I am orphaned as an author,” she says. An orphanhood that reader Esther Barroso Milan also shares: “I felt her loss deeply, it gave me a sense of emptiness and a literary orphan. His articles were a kind of weekly therapy for me, a way to direct my thinking and confirm my convictions in a time that makes me feel so strange”.
Tony Berini, however, remembers the day he met the writer in a bookstore in Barcelona. “When smoking was banned in public places, he protested at length in his articles about the freedom of smoking and the backwardness of the law. Very strongly. One day I met him in a Jaimes bookstore in Barcelona and greeted him with a smile: “Smoking kills.” He replied, “Sometimes you can choose what to die of.”
Honored with prizes such as the National Award for Translation and Narrative, the Herralde and the European Literature, Marías was a perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize. “How sad that he was left without the maximum recognition of the lyrics that he so deserves,” commented Letty Martinez on Facebook. Izaskun Pascual Ruiz de Arbulo emphasizes the problem: “As a writer, it pains me very much that they did not give him the Nobel Prize that he so deserved, but it no longer matters to him if he ever does.”
Raquel Duran, however, gives her not only literary joys, but also marks her personal life. “Thanks to Javier Marías I am with my English boyfriend. I didn’t want to agree to his love requests, but he gave me Javier’s book, bad character -not realizing what he gave me- and I loved it so much I had to watch it again. Nothing less than thank you! It’s been five years since then,” he admits in an email.
“Because I only believe in the universe, I don’t know where your soul has gone Javier, but I hope from here on out you keep messing with the idiots who make this world work worse than it could,” Mario wrote with absolute frankness Gascony Camprubis. “Whenever he passed through the Plaza de la Villa, he looked up to see if the lights in his house were on. And when they were, I imagined him writing. And I was happy”, remembers Jose Ramon Rigal. “We will miss him dearly,” he concludes.
Most highlighted passages
Delighted in and beyond the borders of Spain, Javier Marías’ loyal readers have shared with EL PAÍS via Twitter and Instagram their favorite literary fragments of the writer.
“I didn’t want to know, but I did know that one of the girls, when she was no longer a girl and had recently returned from her honeymoon, went into the bathroom, stood in front of the mirror, opened her blouse, took off her bra and looked for her heart with the blade at the gun of his own father, who was in the dining room with part of the family and three guests. (@mariaferromerino, @superpelos23)
“Well, you’re already married. And now this? He was the first to ask this question, or rather to formulate this question, which I had been asking myself since the morning, since the ceremony, and even before that, since the day before. I had spent the night in a shallow and restless sleep, I was probably asleep but I thought I had insomnia, I dreamed that I was not asleep, I really woke up at times. By five o’clock in the morning I doubted whether to light the lamp, for like spring I could already see through the raised blinds the notice of dawn reaching the street, and I could distinguish my objects and furniture, those in the bedroom. ‘I shall no longer sleep alone, except now and then, or when I travel,’ he had thought, as he hesitated whether to turn on the light or watch the dawn break over the buildings and over the trees.’ (@untalmerino)
“Silence and speaking are ways of interfering with the future.” (@saravigoo)
“We gave each other kisses we could save so I wouldn’t have to remember them.” (@memelabu)
“To-morrow in battle think of me, and let your dull sword fall: despair and die.” Let me weigh your soul to-morrow, let me be led in your breast, and let your days end in bloody battle: let your spear fall. Think of me when I was mortal: despair and die. (@rangarcia wanted to memorize these verses of Richard III, of Shakespeare that form the backbone of Marias’s novel).
“One should never say anything, or give data, or contribute stories, or make men remember beings that never existed, or walked the earth, or crossed the world, or passed away, but they were already half safe in the one-eyed and uncertain oblivion’ . (@Kikerzz_, @pazteresa).
“Lies are lies, but everything has a time to be believed.” (@ovallejoarias, @eliraemparte)
“The last time I saw Miguel Desvern or Devern was also the last time his wife, Luisa, saw him, which was still strange and perhaps unfair, for she was that, his wife, and I was, on the other a country, a stranger. and I had never exchanged a word with him”. (@anamatosneves)
“Not long ago this story happened – less than a life usually lasts, and how little life is when it is over and when it can already be told in a few sentences and leaves only ashes in the memory that fall immediately, the most -a little bump and flight at the slightest impulse—and yet that would be impossible today. I mean above all what happened to them, to Eduardo Muriel and his wife Beatrice Noguera, when they were young, and not so much what happened to me with them when I was young and their marriage was long and unbreakable. “. (@victorlebronacevedo)
“For a while she was not sure whether her husband was her husband, just as one does not know, in half sleep, whether he is thinking or dreaming, whether he is still in his mind or has lost it in exhaustion. (@laulopezrivera)