I’d been coming across references to Javier Marias in a lot of different places, so I thought I’d check on out, and this title, Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me was highly recommended by several of my favorite Goodreads reviewers. But I can’t say the same.
Sometimes when I read a book something happens within it that knocks me right out of it, like a golf ball wildly shot into the trees. It happened with this one. I liked the first third or so very much. It’s the story of a man on the verge of an affair with a married woman, who has the bad luck to have the woman suddenly die in his arms instead. Now he’s stuck with the body, and her little toddler in the next room, and the husband out of town, and has to decide what to do. This is all very intricately detailed and involved and we feel we are right there with him, but of course the story has to move on, it’s the nature of time itself, life continues for the living, and our protagonist lurks around the edges of the family like a haunted spy. From this point on, besides ogling every single female character at length (an all-too common feature of male novelists), the story drifts into more and more uninteresting backwaters. When the book enters one such fetid pond, where he cannot tell if the prostitute he’s just hired is actually his ex-wife or not (!), this is where I dropped out. I had to flip past that, and tried to see if the book would bring me back in again, but it never did. The rest of the story seemed to consist of more bad things happening to various women. Enough was enough.(