Monday, June 22, 2009

at long last

One of my favorite books ever is Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, a magical and mysterious book that is not to be put down until finished. In Franco's Spain, Daniel is eleven years old when his father takes him to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books and tells him to choose a book. Daniel chooses a book: Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. He reads and rereads the book and then asks his friend the bookseller for more books by the same author. The bookseller tells him that someone else is also asking for books by Julian Carax and is destroying them. Daniel is determined to find out why the books are being destroyed as well as find more books before they can be destroyed. Several years of his life are spent unraveling the mysteries of Julian Carax.

I was captivated from the first page and absolutely devoured this book. I wanted everyone I know to read the book, I recommended it to everyone who came to me for a recommendation, even if it didn't fit their reading interests at all! Imagine my delight (joy! elation! anticipation!) when my library cohort the Floating Lust, er, Lush (sorry!) told me there was a companion book coming soon. I checked the library's catalog and there was the book. I requested it and waited and waited and waited. Last week the book arrived! I raced to finish the two books I was reading and, at last, this morning started reading the new book.

The Angel's Game is about David Martin, the unwanted son of a mother who deserted her family and a father who abused him. His father is murdered in front of David's eyes and, with no other family and nowhere to go, David is hired by his father's employer and becomes the office boy at a newspaper. When he is in his late teens, the editor of the newspaper offers David the chance to write a serial fiction column to fill the last page of the newspaper. David writes a lurid murder series that becomes very popular with customers but makes David very unpopular with his coworkers, who envy his success. Soon, the editor bows to pressure and fires David. Jobless, he turns to a wealthy friend who has made arrangements with two seedy publishers to give him a chance to write cheap thrillers and crime books. David jumps at the chance since the money they offer him is beyond his hopes and dreams.

I've read about six chapters and, just like The Shadow of the Wind, I've been hooked since the first word. I can't wait to go home tonight and stretch out on the daybed with book in hand and lose myself in the Barcelona of the 1920s. Doesn't that sound perfect?

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