Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Here's the description from the back of the book:
In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city's underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.
Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed—a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.
So basically this book was awesome.  It's eery and mysterious and set in Spain in the early 1900s, and it has a film noir kind of feel to it.  There's a lot of shadows, a lot of mystery.
The writing, or translation I guess, was abolutely stunning.  If it was this fantastic in translation, I so wish I knew Spanish so I could read it in its native language.  I mean, the words tell the story.  They paint the scenes in shadows and always keep us guessing and barely glimpsing what it is David is looking for.  If I ever write a book, the writing will never be as beautiful and dark and poetec as this book.
The story itself was also great and kept me on the edge of my seat for portions of the book, especially the last hundred or so pages.  There were a few parts where I felt the story lagged and I had to push through them.  But it was worth it. 
I also loved the bookish aspect of the story.  One of the big parts in the sotry is when David goes to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.  The descriptions of this huge, cavernous place just stacked with books was almost enough to make any book lover start drooling.  Also David is a frequent visitor of Sempere's bookshop, and there are great passages about Sempere's love of books and how it can almost be equated to a religion.
This was our latest book club read.  I'm still gathering my thoughts, but I definitely think it's going to be a great discussion with the girls!
I had some great quotes to share on here, but my friend from book club is borrowing my copy and I didn't think to write them down before lending it to her.  So I won't be sharing those just yet!
Title: The Angel's Game
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Date of Publication: 2009
Number of Pages: 544
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Copy

1 comment:

  1. It's so long since I read this book but I remember adoring it, even more so than Shadow of the Wind. Zafon's English translations are so well done because Lucia Graves (Robert Graves' daughter) translates his drafts as he writes them and has much more input in the writing process than a translator ordinarily would. I think their hard work paid off, don't you?