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About the book
  • Published: 18 April 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241972823
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $19.99

Thus Bad Begins

A darkly smouldering tale of a young man entangled in his employer's unhappy marriage.

Award-winning author Javier Marías weaves a darkly thrilling tale of love, betrayal and lives played out in the unhappy shadow of history

As a young man, Juan de Vere takes a job that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Hi employer is Eduardo Muriel: a famous film director, sophisticated and discreet. Muriel's wife Beatriz is a soft, ripe woman who slips through her husband's home like an unwanted ghost, finding solace in other beds. And on the periphery of their lives stands Dr Jorge Van Vechten, a old family friend with a shadowy past. Juan enters eagerly into Muriel's world of glamour and prestige, but as time passes he is troubled by many questions that seem to have no answer. Why does Muriel hate Beatriz? How did Beatriz meet Van Vechten? And what happened in the chaotic years after the war?
As Juan learns more about his employers, his own innocence begins to fall away. Though he starts off as a mere observer, he is soon unable to stand on the side lines, compelled to interfere ever more dangerously in the dark interior of other people's lives.
Marias presents a study of the infinitely permeable boundaries between private and public selves, between observer and participant, between the deceptions we suffer from others and those we enact upon ourselves.
'No one else, anywhere, is writing quite like this' Daily Telegraph on The Infatuations

  • Pub date: 18 April 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241972823
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Javier Marias

Javier Marias was born in 1951. His novels, short stories and essay collections have won a dazzling array of international literary awards. His work has been translated into thirty-four languages and more than five million copies of his books have been sold worldwide. He has held academic posts in Spain, the United States and in Britain, as Lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University and was recently nominated to be a member of the Real Academia de la Lengua Española. He lives in Madrid.

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Praise for Thus Bad Begins

“An arch and sophisticated entertainment animated by a probing moral intelligence, a demonstration of what fiction at its best can achieve”




“Endlessly interesting and brilliantly funny”



Daily Mail

“One of Marías's most enjoyable and accessible novels”

Financial Times

“Spain's modern-day Cervantes”

Sunday Times

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