Weekend study of Javier Marais in Valencia

Course NameLocationDurationDateTime
Infatuations in Valencia SpainValencia SpainWeekend (Friday- Sunday)May 18-20th 2018Starts Friday 5 PM

May 18-20  2018

Valencia Spain

Salon Details:

·      Dates: May 18-20th First discussion @ 5:30 Friday afternoon; last discussion Sunday 12- 2 ending with Paella meal on the beach

·      6-8 hours of discussion spread over three days; may include a written reflection component

·      Participants organise flight & accommodations; Robin will provide suggestions (overall, Valencia is quite affordable)

·      We will share some meals (Robin is offering to prepare a grilled feast Saturday evening with fresh market offerings—we will share cost); Friday eve & Saturday morning is open for you to discover the city for dinner and wandering

·      Cost for the Salon study is £110—includes supporting notes & introductory materials

Please use the Paypal button below to pay £110 and  register for this study. Price includes six hours of discussion and supporting materials.


About Valencia:

Land of paella and palm trees, Beaux Arts buildings , Moorish influence , exotic and joyously authentic… the third largest city in Spain, Valencia is still largely unspoiled and  literally has everything: a vibrant food scene (and oh, the wine!), a pristine Mediterranean beach, cultural attractions including the architecturally stunning City of Arts and Sciences, churches galore (this is Spain, after all) and, for foodies, the glorious Mercat Central – at 8,160 sq. meters, the largest covered fresh food market in Europe.  But what really shines through is the juxtaposition of the general atmosphere of ‘joie de vivre’ – Valencians love a fiesta- and the soul of the city, concealed amongst cobbled alleys and hidden squares, magnificent and crumbling and lit by a most extraordinary light… every stroll an adventure, every vista a revelation, so much to discover.

                                                                        — Robin

About the book:

It is an intellectual journey to consider literature outside of my own cultural view…not realising how limited my understanding of Spanish writing is until pressed to come up with a title other than Don Quixote or Lorca. I have been turning over ideas about the category of national identity for writers: how much is a writer’s voice a product of a particular time & culture, how much does the reader need to understand (or gain an understanding of) a culture’s history and unique concerns through a novel? Contemporary Spanish writers share the global genre evolutions of realism and modernism; their country’s history of violent upheaval, fascism and a re-born democracy imprint the literature. Yet the shared struggles around love, loss, jealousy, betrayal move me into this lesser-known world.

I chose Marias’ work Infatuations both as a critically-acclaimed exemplar of modern Spanish writing and for its philosophical (dare I say Proustian?) considerations in reflection of the playing out of human drama.

 I have found it a really compelling read (so compelling I had to question whether it was too entertaining to be a Salon study….and then had to laugh at myself). At 300 pages, it is not brief but it is page-turning. Here is an excerpt from Edward St. Aubin’s review of Infatuations in The New York Times:


“Marías has pointed out that the Latin root of the verb “to invent,” invenire, means to discover or find out. His special gift is to bring these two processes, inquiry and narration, into a conjunction, making things up as he discovers them and discovering them as he makes them up. He never works to a plan, and so his prose stays close to the thought processes of a writer working out what to say next and responding to what he has, perhaps mistakenly, just said. “The Infatuations” goes on to explore the narrator’s relationship with the widow and with the best friend of the murdered Miguel. At first he appears to have been killed by a stray madman. The plot, several times changing our perspective on the murder, works very well as a thriller, but it is essentially a pretext for advancing the skeptical worldview embodied by the style.”




And this:

“Once you’ve finished a novel, what happened in it is of little importance and soon forgotten. What matters are the possibilities and ideas that the novel’s imaginary plot communicates to us and infuses us with.”   Infatuations by Javier Marais