This is a beautiful and absorbing book, I zipped through it over a weekend and could not put it down. The characters and atmosphere were described with color and I could so clearly see it all unfolding in my minds' eye. There is an element of historical fiction in the descriptions of pre/post wartime Barcelona (such an awesome city). I loved it thoroughly and now that I have finished it, feel a bit lost and adrift. I'm recommending this to everyone!
Zafon more than fulfills the author's duty 'to be interesting' with this intricately-woven, suspenseful, wonderfully hypnotic novel of a tragic love in Barcelona in Civil War days there that altered the lives of another set of characters a generation later in that Spanish city. A novel that calls for, and rewards, attentive reading.
I just finished this book and really enjoyed it. It was not predictable and there are many twists and turns. There are alot of Spanish names so I did get confused sometimes but I was able to go back and figure things out. I especially LOVED the author's style of writing and way with words. ...referred to someone as a "fascist buttock polisher"....another phrase that made me laugh out loud was when he wrote of a character "letting off farts that pierced bullet holes through the upholstery". I definitely expanded my vocabulary reading this book because although I had an idea of what some of the words meant, I was looking them up in the dictionary to get precise meanings. Words like lugubrious, denouement. polonaises, salacious, etc. Don't let any of the vocabulary discourage you. He just uses such rich language to paint the picture. It was refreshing and a real treat to read. The story is a little dark at times but a page turner. Sorry I am not putting it back in the swap right away because I might suggest it for book club.
Beautifully written--you cannot escape this book without becoming engrossed in the author's love for words. There are so many lines that are so delicious you must keep them in your quote file. The book as a whole is a tangled web of mysteries and separate stories that in the end, finally become lovingly intertwined. This book is sumptuous in its words and full-bodied characters. I did at times, however, grow tired of the skipping around from one story to the next. Perhaps part of that was my eagerness to find out which story was the "real" story. Viewing it now as a "whole" I would recommend this book--but only for those who savor words for the pure pleasure of their beauty. Without that, you may have trouble hanging on to the end.
I really enjoyed this book. I felt at times that it could have used some editing (at 480 pages, it's a tome.) But, it was an enjoyable read with interesting (and very Spanish) characters. Recommended.
A real book-lovers novel about old books! Fabulous thriller...