Javier Marias is considered a genius by many and was Spain's hope for the 2010 Nobel Prize, which (unfortunately) went to the Peruvian conservative, Mario Vargas Llosa whose books I've never been able to finish because of the dark, unforgiving landscapes that plague his characters.
Reading Marias, however, is more like a romp through a lush playground of swings and slides. The anticipation is high in the beginning, but gradually we fall into a sort of passive walk around someone else's mind, an intellectual voyeurism that eventually numbs us into submissiveness the longer we read, until soon we've lost interest in the swings and slides and wander off with the writer into a rich labyrinth of words that makes us reach, question, deviate and learn.
We see everything through the eyes of Jaime (or Jacques, or Jacobo or . . . )Deza, an expatriate Spaniard living in London alone, with an estranged wife and children still living in Madrid. Deza is attractive and sharp and gains the attention of a man named Tupra, an enigma extraordinaire who remains an enigma throughout the three volumes of the novel. Nevertheless, Deza is eventually employed by Tupra through the recommendation of an elderly mutual friend named Peter Wheeler, who is, as I understand it, the reincarnation of Marias' mentor in real life, Sir Peter Russell.
Those of you who want a captivating and complex intellectual mystery which involves questions of good and evil, action and non-action, and a skewed re-apportioning of moral responsibility, this book may be for you. If you're looking for a James Patterson murder mystery, skip it.