Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (June 16, 2009)
In 1920s Barcelona, David Martin is born into poverty, but, aided by patron and friend Pedro Vidal, he rises to become a crime reporter and then a beloved pulp novelist. David's creative pace is frenetic; holed up in his dream house—a decrepit mansion with a sinister history—he produces two great novels, one for Vidal to claim as his own, and one for himself. But Vidal's book is celebrated while David's is buried, and when Vidal marries David's great love, David accepts a commission to write a story that leads him into danger. As he explores the past and his mysterious publisher, David becomes a suspect in a string of murders, and his race to uncover the truth is a delicious puzzle: is he beset by demons or a demon himself? Zafón's novel is detailed and vivid, and David's narration is charming and funny, but suspect. Villain or victim, he is the hero of and the guide to this dark labyrinth that, by masterful design, remains thrilling and bewildering.
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon has just arrived. I have not read this author. I understand that the events in this story are a "gothic semiprequel" to the popular The Shadow of the Wind. So it appears that there is no loss by reading this one first. Reviews for both books have been mixed, although I have not read them in detail as I prefer everything in my stories to be a surprise. This is not the sort of book I would usually buy or even borrow from the library. It's not a straightforward mystery which would be a light read for me. It suggests adventure and intrigue, not my first choice either. But it was the best literary fiction that was offered to LibraryThing Early Reviewers in Canada last month. And the selection of ARCs available to reviewers in Canada this month is so dismal that I did not bother to try for one, but that is another story.
So I have to confess that I am reading The Angel's Game basically by default. I must say that Doubleday has sent me a true hardcover copy, a beautiful edition, not an ARC. The entire cover is imprinted with library shelves full of older books and it has a partial paper jacket over that, a nice one too. A lovely gift edition. The plus side for me is that the story is set in Spain, Barcelona to be exact. And it's literary fiction in translation, by an award-winning author. That and the preceding PW review are all I know about it. So I will give it my full attention, without expectations. Watch for my upcoming Afterwords (aka a review) about the book.
Have you read The Shadow of the Wind? Did you enjoy it? Any plans to read The Angel's Game or are you waiting for the reviews first? If you've read anything else by Zafon, can you recommend it?
Comments, questions, reading recommendations or links to reviews are always welcomed. I'd love to read them. No Spoilers please.
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