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Berta Isla

by Marías, Javier,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 6 copies
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Western Allegheny Community Library Fiction Realistic F MARIAS
Location  Western Allegheny Community Library
Collection  Fiction Realistic
Call Number  F MARIAS
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CLP - Downtown and Business First Floor - New Books IN TRANSIT
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Collection  First Floor - New Books
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Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - New Fiction
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Location  Sewickley Public Library
Collection  New Book
From the award-winning, internationally best-selling Spanish writer, author of The Infatuations, comes a gripping new novel of intrigue and missed chances--at once a spy story and a profound examination of a marriage founded on secrets and lies.

When Berta Isla was a schoolgirl, she decided she would marry Tomás Nevinson--the dashing half-Spanish, half-English boy in her class with an extraordinary gift for languages. But when Tomás returns to Madrid from his studies at Oxford, he is a changed man. Unbeknownst to her, he has been approached by an agent from the British intelligence services, and he has unwittingly set in motion events that will derail forever the life they had planned. With peerless insight into the most shadowed corners of the human soul, Marías plunges the reader into the growing chasm between Berta and Tomás and the decisions that irreversibly change the course of the couple's fate. Berta Isla is a novel of love and truth, fear and secrecy, buried identities, and the destinies we bring upon ourselves.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Acclaimed author Marías has been described as a novelist posing as a philosopher but one who surprises readers by providing a plot, after all. And so it is in this novel about a marriage imbued with secrecy. Berta Isla and Tomás Nevinson meet as teens in school in Madrid in the 1960s and soon are a declared couple. Yet both lose their virginity to others when college separates them, she after a chance encounter in Madrid, he in Oxford in an emotionless, utilitarian sexual relationship that becomes key to determining a future not of his choice. Berta and Tomás finally marry in 1974, and he establishes a pattern of travelling between Oxford, where his work is based, and Madrid, where they live. His absences from his family become longer, and, when he leaves in April 1982, just as the Falklands War breaks out, he doesn't return, leaving Berta with their young son and daughter. What the future holds is revealed gradually in Marías' signature prose, with large chunks of exposition that may initially be off-putting, but through which the narrative flows smoothly, engulfing the reader. Marías has been touted as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature; this novel illustrates why.--Michele Leber Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Marías (Thus Bad Begins) transforms a spy thriller into an eloquent depiction of those left behind at home in this rich novel. Popular, beautiful Berta Isla decides she will marry Tomás Nevinson, a half-Spanish, half-British classmate with a preternatural ability to learn languages, while they are students together in mid-1960s Madrid. During his studies at Oxford, Tomás is recruited by a professor to use his abilities with languages and accents to serve as an infiltrator for the British Secret Intelligence Service . He demurs, until he is accused of murdering his British lover and needs help evading the charge. Marías toggles to Berta as a narrator for Tomás's return to Spain, their marriage in 1974, and his cover job for the British Embassy. Berta struggles to cope with her husband's long, mysterious absences and forces a confession about his real job after a terrifying threat on their young son's life. Tomás offers scant details of his work, which only partially satisfies Berta, who spars with him. When he leaves on assignment just before the start of the Falklands War in 1982, Berta's worries compound as his time away stretches into months and then years. Marías switches back to a third-person narrator for the gut-punching conclusion that explains what happened to Tomás. The espionage premise is initially enticing, but the real draw is the depth of Marías's characterization. This weighty novel rewards readers with the patience for its deliberate dissection of a marriage. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Husband and wife -- Fiction.
Marriage -- Fiction.
Spanish literature.
Spanish fiction.
Domestic fiction.
Psychological fiction.
Spy fiction.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First American edition.
Other Titles Berta Isla.
Contributors Costa, Margaret Jull, translator.
Language English
Translated from the Spanish.
Notes "A Borzoi book"--Title page verso.
Description 479 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780525521365
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