Recommended by Heywood Hill Reader David Astor:
"I had never read a book by Javier Marías before this one, which I enjoyed so much that I have since read 'All Souls', 'A Heart so White' and 'Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me', all by the same author. And I have a few more lined up.
In 'Thus Bad Begins', a young man goes to work as PA to a much older film producer who is married to a woman whom he loathes. The relationship between the three principle characters and the revelations of earlier betrayals are gradually explained in exquisite prose. Marias has been compared with W.G. Sebald but I would go further than that and liken him to Proust. There's the same detailed but compelling descriptions of all that is going on. Utterly compelling."
On himself: 'David Astor's working life has involved small time venture capital, politics and the Arts. If he had spent less time reading books he might have been more successful.'