Javier Marias participated in a chat at El País and in the brief session he answered questions on language, his writing, and literature. There were several questions about his constant pessimism, especially in his weekly article in El País (something I long ago got tired of reading). One in particular wanted to know why he didn’t focus on other countries, but he said he knows Spain best and will stick to that. Continuing in his pessimistic way he made several mentions of the continued “deterioro del español de España” (deteriation of Spanish in Spain). To me it sounded just like a cranky old man when he was on that topic. Language changes and there is not point in complaining about it, but I think that is what he likes most to do.
About his writing he was asked in English language structures have crept into it and he said sometimes he does that to enrich his language, but only when it makes sense. He has begun a new book and the only thing he really knows is that it will be pessimistic, too. He is about half way through, but for the last year he has been on a book tour, something that he has found boring, and is looking to get back to his work.
Finally, he does know how to use a computer, he just doesn’t like to write his books and articles with a computer. And when asked the 3 best novels of the 20th century he said, Lolita by Nabokov, Light in August by Faulkner, and Catcher in the Rye by Salinger.