Thursday, February 24, 2005

Cemetery of Forgotten Books

This From

Beautiful Atrocities


SHADOW OF THE WIND is international sensation by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón, set in Barcelona in 1945. 11-year-old Diego finds a lost novel (also called ) in an antiquarian shop called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Enchanted, he sets out to find the author's other works, only to discover that someone has been methodically destroying all copies of the writer's work, & that Diego may have the last copy, putting himself in danger.

Louise Jury writes in the Independent that the novel has spread largely by word of mouth. In interview with author, Independent wonders "What if we try to get the grand scale of Dickens & Tolstoy novels using all these new devices to enhance the reading experience? It may sound pretentious, but that's what I was trying to do with The Shadow of the Wind. It's a cathedral of stories with many subplots and elements, & everything converges."

Won't explain where I came across this, but of all the books I have read about in Blits [Blog litteraire] recently, this is the one I want to read - simply because tried the same thing, except my book shop had a much less interesting name and involved poor man finding shopping lists, rashers of bacon, and margin scribblings which he violently disagreed with in the books that were to be his inspiration.

Should everyone try a "Novelist goes into a book shop...." novel before they die?

Also, on similar tack, came across this novel when looking up litrary/artistic stuff on Ronda, An'dalus:

The Forgetting Room by Nick Bantock

“Armon Hurt, a lonely bookbinder, has just learned that his grandfather, the surrealist artist Rafael Hurtago, has died and left him his house in Ronda, Spain, with the enigmatic blessing, "May he discover his belonging."

Instead of books in a store, he has a Spanish town house and a mystery you are too late if that had been your idea. However, you could include the book itself in your novel, and a sub-plot quest to discover why the author wrote it, involving trip to Andalucia, where you meet a bored and beautiful English as a foreign language teacher, who takes you on a turns obsessive and finds a way to prevent you from leaving.

The reviews are not too complimentary, but might be worth reading for any number of reasons, including wanting to guess whether the author ever went to Ronda, and how well he creates the atmosphere of the town, especially if you know it yourself. I can tell you there is an extract of the book out there which does the bus journey from Malaga, up that windy A376 between the two sets of white villages. If you really Google hard you will find several travel pieces describing the same journey which are quite like the book description. So you might really be left guessing whether this is based on experience or not.

Anyone who knows any fiction which describes the journey, please let me know.


At Friday, February 25, 2005, Anonymous jeff said...

I finally read Shadow of the Wind. It's not quite as Borgesian as I'd expected, more of an elegant mystery. Let me know what u think!


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