Paperback, 377 pages

Spanish language

Published Feb. 5, 2000 by Debols!llo.

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4 stars (1 review)

A Heart So White by Javier Marías was first published in Spain in 1992 (original title Corazón tan blanco.) Margaret Jull Costa's English translation was first published by The Harvill Press in 1995. The book received the International Dublin Literary Award in 1997. An edition was published by Penguin Books in 2012, with an introduction by Jonathan Coe.

6 editions

These hearts aren't white

4 stars

Accurate copy from the back cover: "Intrigue; the sins of the father; the fraudulent and the genuine; marriage and strange repetitions of violence[.]"

Frosty and creepy. Secrets are held back by pages of ruminations and philosophizing, making the secrets just sit there, aching to spill out into view. Quite an emotionless book—characters go about their (similar, repeated) actions almost like wound-up, that's not quite right, but...there is a certain emphasis placed on obligations, relationships, duties etc. that seem to have trapped these people in a dreamy series of actions. And details, phrases, situations, etc., repeat themselves so that by the end, the novel feels like an exercise in oulipian deck-shuffling. Hints of Lynch, or The Ruined Map by Kōbō Abe, but not enough to take this book into completely surreal territory. Kudos for the sustained light dread. An ending that made me cold inside.


  • Modern fiction
  • Spanish: Adult Fiction
  • Fiction
  • Fiction - General
  • Untranslated Fiction - Spanish
  • Sagas