Back to my holiday from a few weeks back, this was the other book that I managed to finish (I actually read it on the plane on the way there…)
It’s a prequel to his other book ‘Shadow of the Wind’ – also set in Barcelona (however a decade or so earlier) with a few of the same characters.
It almost feels like it’s a slightly different perspective on the same events – a book about books, but this time it’s the writers who get the treatment.
I enjoyed it much more than ‘Shadow’ – without revealing too much of the plot, it again involves the bookstore, the cemetery of forgotten books (the one place that I am going to find next time I’m in Barcelona), the gothic quarters of a wondrous city that has as many different passages and avenues as it does secrets. It’s a lot darker, more mysterious – I found that I didn’t want to put it down and felt like I needed to read till the end so I could get to the profound and unexpected climax…
I have been to a few places mentioned, in particular one which is a tapas bar near the Picasso museum. Reading about it brought back memories of the old men eating tapas, sipping sherry and wine communicating in a language that we had no hope of understanding… I could almost picture Daniel Martin at this bar as well.
It was a lot darker than I initially thought it was going to be. Gothic and faustian, but also with a subtext that leaves you wondering what exactly happened after you get to the last page. I rushed to the Internet after we got home to find out if anyone else agreed with what I thought (seems so…) however there are several twists and unexpected turns to leave you wondering…
If anyone else read it, I’d like to know what they thought ‘the book’ Daniel Martin wrote was all about – and who was Andreas Corelli???
It’s beautifully written, rich in imagery and context – if I could compare it to anything, I’d compare it to ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. A parable as well, and based in a similar time period, the gothic themes and almost horror are also delivered in a similar way. Definitely an excellent novel, and well worth another read (or two even!) to pick up the subtleties to the plot that I no doubt missed the first time round.