While the Women Are Sleeping, By Javier Marías


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The Independent Culture

Marías's acclaimed trilogy, Your Face Tomorrow, earned him comparisons to Proust. This collection of ten short stories, a less monumental affair, spans the author's writing career, including a precocious ghost story he penned at the age of 14.

This entry, "The Life and Death of Marcelino Iturriaga", is set in the streets of gloomy Franco-era Madrid and, like other stories in the collection, displays Marías's affinity for the mildly macabre.

While some period pieces such as "Lord Rendell's Song" dabble with English Gothic, others, like the title story, trade in a modern currency of voyeuristic videos and depilated beauties.

Translator Margaret Jull Costa has done noble battle with some of Marías's more demanding sentences.