The Kingdom of Javier Maria
By Ernesto Franco / "To tell is almost always a gift", writes Javier Marias on the first page of the novel "Your face tomorrow". And if each of the readers tries to remember the books read and loved so much in the span of time and throughout his life, it would not be difficult to discover or recognize the inherent truth of these words.
There are writers to whom we are grateful for a book or two, for a story, for a character, and even for a dialogue or a phrase, or even just for a scene, which becomes part of the catalog of absolute scenes - as he called them Stevenson – that leave a permanent mark on our memory and that serve us all our lives to give shape to our experiences, feelings, thoughts. This is also a reason why one reads, not to find formulas, but to look for forms, using them to temporarily stop the indefinable that comes our way.
Different and more rare is the case of writers to whom we are grateful for creating a kingdom in which, if they are sovereign, we readers clearly do not feel subjects, but citizens. I mean that in that realm, characterized by the perpetual fluctuation between truth and imagination, we do not feel compelled to be a part of it, but rather find ourselves naturally a part of it. We share places and times, fantastic stories and dark sides, pictures, quotes, readings, and even sudden shocks, which we know as cues. Then in these cases it is not about a single story, about a character or about an absolute scene, but about a work, or better to say a universe in motion, a "form of duration".
I think that Javier Marias belongs to this last group of writers. Of course, as always, these writers can meet or not, but if they meet then it will be difficult to prefer or reject this or that book, in our case "A heart so white", "If in battle you think for me", "The Dark Back of Time", "The Sentimental Man", "Written Lives", "When I Was Mortal", "This Is How Evil Begins", "Berta Isla", "Tomas Nevinson". On the contrary, they will stand out as different passages of the same city, in which the same event is always taking place in a thousand different forms, a game that becomes our game. "When I write or tell stories and invent characters - says Marias - I have learned, known or thought things that can only be known, known or thought in literature. Sometimes only in fiction, in writing novels and short stories. I often think of the existence of something that we tend to forget and since the early times it is called "literary thought", different from any other thought, different from the scientific and philosophical, from the logical and mathematical and even from the religious thought and political."
Marias explains that it is not about a thought about literature, but about a way of imagining the world in a literary way, a thought that is difficult to define because it can contradict itself and is not subject to any demonstration or verification , it may seem arbitrary, self-indulgent and even ridiculous. It is a form of "recognition" that makes us say: here it is. Simply put, "it's a way of knowing that someone knows what they didn't know they knew."
Letërsia për të cilën ka interes Javier Marias, si shkrimtar por edhe si lexues, është ajo që “tregon misterin” pa propozuar shpjegime. Nëse ndjenja jonë përqafon një ide të botës dhe të përvojës së krijuar si nga ajo që ka ndodhur, ashtu edhe nga ajo që mund të kishte ndodhur, si nga ajo që është reale ashtu edhe nga ajo që është më thellë e më e vërtetë, si nga imagjinata dhe nga arsyetimi, nuk do të kemi gjetur vetëm një libër apo thjesht ndonjë histori, por një mbretëri në të cilën, pa asnjë ngushëllim, do të jemi në gjendje të njohim vetveten.
*Ernesto Franco is an Italian writer. He wrote these lines a few years ago for an activity with Romanian readers, and as he writes himself "I am publishing them only now, because an hour ago I learned that Javier Marias died in his Madrid. I didn't know it was so heavy. I prefer to publish these calmly thought words than to improvise in the capture of emotions, of sadness and absence."