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Javier Marías: Corazón tan blanco (1991)

“My hands are of your colour;
but I shame to wear a heart so white”
– Shakespeare: Macbeth

This is the quote that gives Corazón tan blanco its title, and references to Shakespeare and, in particular, to Macbeth,  abound in throughout the novel.

Corazón tan blanco tells the story of Juan Ranz, an interpreter who has just married Luisa, another interpreter. Since the beginning of their marriage, he has been possessed by a feeling of impending doom, he can’t quite put his finger on it, but it’s deeply connected to a question his father asks him on his wedding day:

“And what now?”

And even though he didn’t want to learn this fact, he realises that his father’s first wife – Juan’s aunt, because his father later married her sister – killed herself shortly after their honeymoon. And, digging even deeper, he finds out that there was a third woman, his father’s actual first wife, a Cuban to whom he was married during a brief stint of living there.

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