Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Angels's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A couple of years ago, I read Zafon's novel Shadow of the Wind and absolutely fell in love with it. Since then, I've been waiting for his follow-up novel. This one came out last year - but it took SO LONG for the English translation. When I received it in the mail from Powell's, I wanted to stay up all night reading, but I only allowed myself to read one chapter a day so that I could extend my enjoyment. Mostly I stuck to the rule, but sometimes I cheated a little. While The Angel's Game is not as mesmerizing as Shadow of the Wind, I still found it utterly captivating and beautifully written. The book takes place in Barcelona in the 1920s and features a struggling young writer named David Martin. David makes his living publishing popular horror stories under a pseudonym, but longs to write real literature. He is approached by a strange publisher and made the offer of a lifetime to write a book like no other in the history of books. Obsessed by a childhood romance, and falling ill from a mysterious disease, David accepts the offer, and moves into a long abandoned house to complete his project. Like Shadow of the Wind, this novel is filled with gothic imagery, forbidden love, poisonous secrets, and of course lots of books and booksellers. At times, the story is a bit crazy - it's obviously far-fetched and the only way to enjoy it is to suspend disbelief, but even in that mode it was sometimes difficult to believe or understand the explanations for all the weirdness in David's life. But, overall, I loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Shadow of the Wind.

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