Never did I think I would be a fan of Spanish Gothic (-ish) fiction, but I just finished The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and I think I’m hooked. Cobweb covered tower houses, graffiti coated mausoleums, bullet stopping books, mysterious locked rooms–this book has it all.
Still, I’m a little confused. Not to give it all away (and please stop reading if you don’t want me to spoil it for you), but I was pretty sure all along that the narrator had unwittingly made a deal with the devil (to riff on Ghostbusters, if someone asks you to write them a new religion, say “no.”). Then it came out that the former resident of the narrator’s Munsters-esque home had apparently also made a deal with the devil. Then, all of the sudden, any visit from the narrator became a kiss of death for whomever he’d just seen, as if, somehow, he was an angel of death working for the devil (or the Spanish version of Corleone family hit man of choice Luca Brasi–plus at least one character ends up sleeping with the fishes, if you know what I mean, so there you go). There’s sacrifice of the pure of heart, admiring views from high places, and even a line like this–“I started working on the seventh day.” With all of those allusions, could I be wrong?
Still, I’m not sure. So again, what is probably obvious to the rest of the reading world is something that I’m trying to work out on my own–not unlike English class back in high school, when the teacher would ask something like, “What is the theme of this novel?” and I’d grope in the silence looking for something earth-shattering insight that was inevitably bankrupt and laughable, or at least didn’t at all resemble what the teacher had written down on her handy mental answer card.
Boy, did I hate high school English. It ruined me for college where I took not one single English class. So there.
Back to Zafon. The jacket of the book says that it’s a prequel to Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind–a book which I read a couple of years ago. I wanted to double-check the connections (and nab some reading material for the Thanksgiving weekend) so I went down to the library’s fiction section. I looked under “ZAF.” No book. I looked under “RUI.” No book. I asked the librarian, who, for some bizarro reason, looked under neither “Z” nor “R” but under “S” (?!?!!). No book. So now, I have The Shadow of the Wind on hold and have no hope of receiving it in time for the Thanksgiving weekend.
Ironically, both Zafon books feature a fictional place called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Has the librarian looked there, I wonder? Fat chance.
I say all this to say, I’m looking for a book to read this weekend. Any suggestions?