Your audiobook is waiting…

Thus Bad Begins

A Novel
Narrated by: Robert Fass
Length: 16 hrs and 39 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Madrid, 1980. Juan de Vere, nearly finished with his university degree, takes a job as personal assistant to Eduardo Muriel, an eccentric, once-successful film director. Urbane, discreet, irreproachable, Muriel is an irresistible idol to the young man. But Muriel's voluptuous wife, Beatriz, inhabits their home like an unwanted ghost, and on the periphery of their lives is Dr. Jorge Van Vechten, a family friend implicated in unsavory rumors that Muriel now asks Juan to investigate. As Juan draws closer to the truth, he uncovers only more questions. What is at the root of Muriel's hostility toward his wife? How did Beatriz meet Van Vechten? What happened during the war?

Marías leads us deep into the intrigues of these characters, through a daring exploration of rancor, suspicion, loyalty, trust, and the infinitely permeable boundaries between the deceptions perpetrated on us by others and those we inflict upon ourselves.

©2014 Javier Marías; translation copyright 2016 by Margaret Jull Costa (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    17
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    13
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating plot, superb performance, psychological depth

The narrator has an excellent Spanish accent that lends authenticity when pronouncing Spanish names. He has a rich, full-bodied voice that adds drama with differing inflections for each character. The plot is a classic Javier Marias intricate character-driven psychological mystery with satisfying revelations throughout. For those who like an earthy, long and complex story and who have the patience to wait for those revelations as they emerge from the detailed narrative.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great way to "read" Marias

Some readers are put off by Javier Marias' style of writing in really long paragraphs. As an audio book, you don't have to get used to that format. The story unfolds seamlessly.

This story is very typical Marias. The person telling the story is observing other people and then inserting himself into their lives where you think he should probably stay out.

I really enjoyed listening to this.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Good Example of Sticking With a Book

This book can be frustrating at times. The author rambles, repeats thoughts, and his observations can go on for pages. But it all is worth it if you stick it out to the end. The writing is beautiful and when the "mystery ", such as it is, is explained, it is satisfying. The backdrop of life under Franco is something that is never overdone -- it's just there, as a fact of life.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Takes a while to get going but so worth it

A fairly compact story by Marías' standards. Fans will recognize themes from many of his past books but it doesn't feel redundant. Builds slow with details and background but the payoffs are chilling. Excellent performance by the reader who skillfully distinguishes between narrator's always rambling internal monologue and characters' dialogue within scenes--something that can be difficult even when reading Marías off paper.