Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me by Javier Marías, Margaret Jull Costa

bookshelves: winter-20142015, spain, published-1994, lit-richer, translation, play-dramatisation, noir, contemporary, madrid, radio-4, mystery-thriller, dodgy-narrator, doo-lally

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from February 18 to March 01, 2015

Description: Marta has just met Victor when she invites him to dinner at her Madrid apartment while her husband is away on business. When her two-year-old son finally falls asleep, Marta and Victor retreat to the bedroom. Undressing, she feels suddenly ill dies, inexplicably, in his arms.

What should Victor do? Remove the compromising tape from the phone machine? Leave food for the child, for breakfast? These are just his first steps, but he soon takes matters further – unable to bear the shadows and the unknowing, Victor plunges into dark waters.

I hope I weigh heavily on your soul tomorrow! It’s me, drowned to death in a nauseating barrel of wine. It’s me, poor Clarence, whom you betrayed to death! Tomorrow in battle, think of me and drop your useless sword. Despair, and die!
– Shakespeare, Richard III, Act V, Scene III

Here we have a narrator to match Humbert Humbert on the creepiness scale.

Episode one of two: When the woman with whom he was about to begin an affair suddenly dies in his arms, Victor considers walking away – but is unable to resist delving into the woman’s dark secrets.

2/2: When Marta dies in his arms during an illicit sexual encounter, Victor flees the scene leaving a 2 year old child alone in the apartment. Now Marta’s husband, Eduardo, has returned from London. He is close to discovering Victor’s identity and about to force a meeting at which he has some unexpected and surprising news to impart.


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