A Heart So White
Juan knows little about his widowed father Ranz, a man with a troubled past: if he has been old 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 who committed suicide. The unspoken dialogue between father and son, however, is to become a spelling out of the horrifying truth when Juan’s wife Luisa turns discreet confessor to the burdened old man. What gradually emerges is a repetition of scenes already experienced by Juan in the course of his travels – a married man blackmailed by his mistress in a Havana hotel, a lonely woman in New York pursuing a series of seedy 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 that secret commerce between spouses which rests on the gossamer-thin threads of an unspoken accord.