Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marías

Thus Bad Begins

Javier Marías

Set in Spain in 1980, the novel is a masterly evocation of the effects of the Civil War on public and private morality and ideas of revenge. Usually I read far too quickly but I forced myself to savour this beautifully-written book and was well rewarded - not least by the introduction of the B Movie star subplot.


'While we're alive,' he repeated. 'Yes, it's illusory to go in pursuit of the truth, a waste of time and a source of conflict, sheer folly. And yet we can't not do it. Or, rather, we can't help wondering about it, knowing that it does exist and is to be found in a place and a time to which we have no access.'

  • Nada by Carmen Laforet
  • Embers by Tibor Marai
  • Secrets and Lies - the film

Books with similar mood

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Madeleine Thien

The Dovekeepers

Alice Hoffman

The Dream of the Celt

Mario Vargas Llosa

Forty Days Without Shadow

Olivier Truc

Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote

Ahmadou Kourouma

The Forgetting Time

Sharon Guskin

The Prophets of Eternal Fjord

Kim Leine

The House of Shattered Wings

Aliette de Bodard

The Dark Side of Love

Rafik Schami

The Nautical Chart

Arturo Perez-Reverte


Ahmet Altan

The Last Hundred Days

Patrick McGuinness

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood

The Insult

Rupert Thomson

In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman

The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu

The Etched City

K J Bishop

City of Lies

Sam Hawke

As Though She Were Sleeping

Elias Khoury

The Spanish Bow

Andromeda Romano-Lax

My Name is Red

Orhan Pamuk

Altered Land

Jules Hardy


Christie Dickason

The Lives of Others

Neel Mukherjee

The Night of the Mi'raj

Zoe Ferraris

Saving Fish from Drowning

Amy Tan

Gate of the Sun

Elias Khoury

The Meaning of Night

Michael Cox

The Impressionist

Hari Kunzru


Suhayl Saadi

Tirzah and the Prince of Crows

Deborah Kay Davies

A History of Loneliness

John Boyne

Nowhere People

Paulo Scott


Patrick Flanery

Mrs Lincoln

Janis Cooke Newman

Burnt Shadows

Kamila Shamsie


Patrick Neate

Night Train to Lisbon

Pascal Mercier

Seventh Gate

Richard Zimler


Jeff VanderMeer

The Historian

Elizabeth Kostova


Alexandra Lapierre

City of the Beasts

Isabel Allende

Bangkok Wakes to Rain

Pitchaya Sudbanthad

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder

Sarah Harris

We That Are Young

Preti Taneja

The Automobile Club of Egypt

Alaa Al Aswany

The Sport of Kings

C E Morgan

The Memory Stones

Caroline Brothers