LA ZONA FANTASMA

A MONTHLY COLUMN

by Javier Marías
“GHOSTS AND ANCIENT HISTORY”

As I write this I suddenly realize that All Souls’ Day, November 1, might have been a more timely date for the publication of this article, but alas, that is one of the (very few) inconveniences of not being a religious man. Life is life, however, and certain truths do not always dawn on us in a timely fashion; they come when they come. And in the end, there is so much more to be pondered in November, the month that Herman Melville always associated with melancholy, as he so succinctly expressed it at the beginning of Moby-Dick, through the voice of Ishmael, his narrator who said that “whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul… I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can,” since the sea was his “substitute for pistol and ball.”

Translated from the Spanish by Kristina Cordero

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Javier Marías was born in Madrid in 1951. English-language translations of his novels include All Souls, A Heart So White, Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me, and the short-story collection When I Was Mortal.

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