A Heart so White

“A Heart so White” by Javier Marias (Spain)

Favourite Quotes

The world is full of surprises and secrets. We think we know the people close to us, but time brings with it more things that we don’t know than things we do, comparatively speaking we know less all the time, there’s always a greater area of shadow. Even if the illuminated area grows larger too, the shadows still win.

A lot of men think that women just need to feel loved and flattered, even spoilt, when what we want most is to be entertained, that is, we want you to stop us thinking about ourselves too much. It’s one of the reasons we tend to want children.


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… Read more

Nicola’s Creative Reading Group reading list

Year 5 – “Western Europe” (Oct 2010 – Jun 2011)

“The True Deceiver” by Tove Jansson (Finland/Sweden)
“The Withered Root” by Rhys Davies (U.K.-Wales)
“Loving Sabotage” by Amélie Nothomb (Belgium)
“The Following Story” by Cees Nooteboom (Netherlands)
“The Wall Jumper” by Peter Schneider (Germany)
“Women as Lovers” by Elfriede Jelinek (Austria)
“A Heart so White” by Javier Marias (Spain)
“If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller” by Italo Calvino (Italy)
“Zorba the Greek” by Nikos Kazantzakis (Greece)

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