Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Book notes No. 33 : The Angel's Game, Carlos Ruiz Zafón

In the gothic tower of an abandoned Barcelona mansion, David Martín eeks out a living writing trash novels for a barracuda publisher, surrounded by mystery and shadows. At the moment of his darkest despair, he receives a letter from a foreign publisher with a surprising and vaguely sinister proposition. He is to write a book. A special book. A book to win the hearts and minds of millions. Tempted by the promise of wealth, health and much more, Martín begins to write, and in doing so finds himself embroiled in mysterious events that threaten his sanity and his life.


Anyone who has read Carlos Ruiz Zafón's previous novel, The Shadow of the Wind, will recognise in this book many of the characters and characteristics that made the former so compelling. Here is an atmospheric Barcelona, tortured and twisted in the period just before the second world war. Here is the monumental and monstrous Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Here is the Sempere family, dispensing wisdom from their little bookshop. Again the book is a combination of detective thriller and horror story, which slips seamlessly into magical realism and later becomes a heartbreaking love story. 


Under the surface of this magnificently plotted and masterfully paced novel also lies a meditation on the nature of religion and its relationship to literature. In a central conversation with the mysterious and seemingly diabolical publisher, we read : 


"...a religion is really a moral code that is expressed through legends, myths or any type of literary device in order to establish a system of beliefs, values and rules with which to regulate a culture or society...Everything is a tale, Martín. What we believe, what we know, what we remember, even what we dream. Everything is a story, a narrative, a sequence of events with characters communicating an emotional content. We only accept as true what can be narrated..."


And Martín's own narrative is to lead him to the brink. 


Highly recommended.












6 comments:

LadyFi said...

I saw this book in a sale last weekend and bought it. (Haven't read the first book though...)

Sounds great!

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

It sounds like a great read, I have so many books waiting to be read and simply cannot find the time at the moment...very annoying, especially since I've always read a lot... Hope you have a lovely day, spring has finally sprung here :-) x

LindyLouMac said...

Shadow of the Wind is still on my MT TBR and now I want to read it soon followed by The Angels Game after reading your review. I really must spend more time reading and less online.

xoxoKrysten said...

Huh, sounds interesting!

Zen Mama said...

Oh my god! Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorites...Can't wait to read a new one!

Romancing Italy said...

I found a lot to love about the imagery he created in the book through his incredible use of words. And his story is compelling, that it made me continue reading even after I didn't like his "friend/foe".

I might be one of the few who will say that even with all the good impressions on this and that, the book left me drained, depressed and speechless. I run the risk of never opening another book of his.

Bev

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Book notes No. 33 : The Angel's Game, Carlos Ruiz Zafón

In the gothic tower of an abandoned Barcelona mansion, David Martín eeks out a living writing trash novels for a barracuda publisher, surrounded by mystery and shadows. At the moment of his darkest despair, he receives a letter from a foreign publisher with a surprising and vaguely sinister proposition. He is to write a book. A special book. A book to win the hearts and minds of millions. Tempted by the promise of wealth, health and much more, Martín begins to write, and in doing so finds himself embroiled in mysterious events that threaten his sanity and his life.


Anyone who has read Carlos Ruiz Zafón's previous novel, The Shadow of the Wind, will recognise in this book many of the characters and characteristics that made the former so compelling. Here is an atmospheric Barcelona, tortured and twisted in the period just before the second world war. Here is the monumental and monstrous Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Here is the Sempere family, dispensing wisdom from their little bookshop. Again the book is a combination of detective thriller and horror story, which slips seamlessly into magical realism and later becomes a heartbreaking love story. 


Under the surface of this magnificently plotted and masterfully paced novel also lies a meditation on the nature of religion and its relationship to literature. In a central conversation with the mysterious and seemingly diabolical publisher, we read : 


"...a religion is really a moral code that is expressed through legends, myths or any type of literary device in order to establish a system of beliefs, values and rules with which to regulate a culture or society...Everything is a tale, Martín. What we believe, what we know, what we remember, even what we dream. Everything is a story, a narrative, a sequence of events with characters communicating an emotional content. We only accept as true what can be narrated..."


And Martín's own narrative is to lead him to the brink. 


Highly recommended.












6 comments:

LadyFi said...

I saw this book in a sale last weekend and bought it. (Haven't read the first book though...)

Sounds great!

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

It sounds like a great read, I have so many books waiting to be read and simply cannot find the time at the moment...very annoying, especially since I've always read a lot... Hope you have a lovely day, spring has finally sprung here :-) x

LindyLouMac said...

Shadow of the Wind is still on my MT TBR and now I want to read it soon followed by The Angels Game after reading your review. I really must spend more time reading and less online.

xoxoKrysten said...

Huh, sounds interesting!

Zen Mama said...

Oh my god! Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorites...Can't wait to read a new one!

Romancing Italy said...

I found a lot to love about the imagery he created in the book through his incredible use of words. And his story is compelling, that it made me continue reading even after I didn't like his "friend/foe".

I might be one of the few who will say that even with all the good impressions on this and that, the book left me drained, depressed and speechless. I run the risk of never opening another book of his.

Bev