The first time I walked the streets of Barcelona was in August 2013. I remember turning that first page of The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and walking into The Cemetery of Forgotten Books with little Daniel and his Father, Mr. Sempere.
So, when I came across a copy of The Angel’s Game lying on the bookshelf at Booksfirst, I simply picked it and held onto it all the way to the cashier. I could not wait to walk those streets again but better yet, I missed The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, imagine walls upon walls stacked with books so precious that they have to be protected by readers.
For three days I sat down to read The Angel’s Game.
We are introduced to David Martin who writes pulp fiction for years. He comes across an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona and decides to reside in it because he’always felt like the house called unto him, but his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem , because the house he calls home harbors a secret and an unsolved mystery. When he thinks he’s had enough of his life and writing struggles with his selfish publishers, he receives an offer from a French Editor. It’s the offer of a lifetime, but what’s the price he would pay?
His task is to write one book, a book with the power to change hearts and minds. But as he begins writing, he realizes that there is a connection between the book and the dark shadows that surround his home…and that’s when things go south.
I was immersed in this book for the first half. Mr. Zafon’s writing is clear and slow, like listening to the tales from an elder every evening, and the discussions on human nature and his ability to believe is strong. When David and his boss talk of writing this one powerful book you feel the tug of war between David’s hopes and writing ability and the man’s desire to see his will done by David. It is full of humor and takes a sharp turn in portraying the relationship between Writers and Publishers and how works by Writers are received. As a Writer, I was sold upon reading the first line of this book:
A Writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story.
The downside to this was that I did not pay attention to the details like confirming the events, names or places and the fine stuff. It was great to visit the Cemetery of Forgotten Books again with David giving intricate descriptions of the place and his relationship with Mr. Sempere made this an enjoyable read. It’s a mystical read with characters as flawed as they are beautiful.
It goes to my library as I seek out the final book in the series “The Prisoner of Heaven.”