Cathedral of Barcelona before 2007 restoration...

Cathedral of Barcelona before 2007 restoration Español: Catedral de Barcelona antes de la restauración de 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Shadow in the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon 

Carlos Ruiz Zafon  is a Spanish author, six books to his credit, but in the English-speaking world we had to wait for translations in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

I promised myself I would re-read this marvellous novel and I did.  It’s absolutely spell-binding, and such a good meaty read.  It has breadth, depth, it has romance, tragedy, horror, mystery, humour; the blurb describes it as a Gothic novel and I suppose it is – fog, crypts, shadows, tortured souls, furious fathers,  cruel husbands, pining maidens, ruined abandoned house – what more could anyone want?  Most of the women are badly done by, unhappy victims of men, life and Fate.  All this and not a fang in sight – who needs the vampire genre?

Briefly, the plot hinges on a dead novelist: Julian Carax. The novel begins with a visit to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books – how mysterious and atmospheric is that?  A father takes his ten-year-old son Daniel to a secret labyrinth visited and maintained by Barcelona’s second-hand booksellers.  The boy must choose a book to treasure and keep with him all his life. He chooses a novel written by Julián Carax, an author who has disappeared and whose books have been sought out and destroyed by a strange, shadowy figure named after a character from one of Carax’s novels – a character who represents the devil.  So we start a story of  intrigue, love, hate and obsession.

The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafon 

Zafon returns to Barcelona (he lives there) for another book-based tale of mystery, twists and turns in another story  based on the theme of books and writers, pregnant with atmosphere  and mystery …

I loved this book just as much as I loved Shadow of the Wind ; I’ll never part with either of these books, and know I shall re-read them whenever I need a book that tells a rippingly good story, that keeps me glued to the page and thoroughly entertained.  In fact, these two Spanish Gothics constitute my Literary First Aid Kit which I shall apply whenever I suffer from a surfeit of precious, trendy novels. My literary Asprin, if you will.  I recommend you add them to your shelves as a precaution.





Filed under BOOK REVIEWS

7 responses to “SPANISH GOTHIC

  1. Sue

    Thanks for that Alison. Library, here I come!


    • You’re in for a treat! He’s written a 3rd book in the series, but its slender, and we looked at it during our Feb Book Club meeting, but decided not to buy. If our Library gets the book, I’ll read it.


  2. Good to hear Angel’s Game is just as good. I look forward to reading it this year. I loved Shadow of the Wind too and bought it for several family members who also thought it was fabulous.


  3. Literary asprin…..what an apt phrase! Perhaps one should have a special medicine cabinet for such works.


  4. Lindsey van Heerden

    Looking forward to ‘A Shadow in the Wind’. I read ‘Angel’s Game’ and loved it! Definitely literary aspirin.


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