Juan knows little about his widowed father Ranz, a man with a troubled past; if he has been told no lies, that is because he has asked no questions. All he does know is that before marrying Juan's mother, Ranz was married to her elder sister and she had committed suicide.
The unspoken dialogue between father and son, however, is to become a spelling out of the horrifying truth once Juan has been married for a year to Luisa, and the bride turns discreet confessor to the burdened old man. What gradually emerges into the cold light of day is a repetition of scenes already witnessed by Juan in the course of his travels - of a married man blackmailed by his mistress in a Havana hotel, of a woman in New York pursuing a sequence of shabby lovers through the lonely hearts columns.
With remarkable skill and delicacy Javier Marias builds up his colours to produce a startling picture of two generations, two marriages, and of the secret commerce between spouses that rests on the gossamer-thin threads of an unspoken accord.
- Publication Date:
- 02 / 06 / 2003
- 129 x 198mm