The relationship between America and Spain in the 20th Century was the worst. And one could say much the same thing about Spain and Latin America, where I now live. It acquired its basic culture from Spain and Portugal in the 16th Century – and then parted ways, and showed no interest in what was going on there.
A lot was going on there – the Spanish Civil War, in which some Americans (like Hemmingway) participated and some British, (like George Orwell) participated. But which both nations (and Latin America) carefully ignored.
I had never heard of Javier Marías – but this article brought me up to speed on him. The author, Jonathan Blitzer, does an excellent job of describing him, in action, talking away, at the Frick Museum, in NYC.