Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Angel's Game by Carlos Riz Zafon

Synopsis :

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martin, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels nder a pseudonym.  The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books, and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city's underworld.  But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photogaphes and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.

Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book with the power to change hearts and minds.  In return, he will receive a fortune, perhaps more.  But as David begins the work, he realises that there is a connection between this haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.

Set in the turbulent 1920s, The Angel's ame takes us back to the gothic universe of the Cementery of Forgotten Books, the Sempere & Sons bookshop, and the winding streets of Barcelona'sold quarter, in a masterful tale about the magic of books and the darkest corners of the human soul.

 I love The Angel's Game.  I know that some reviewers have written quite badly about this book after comparing it to the author's first,The Shadow of the Wind but I just love it as much as The Shadow of the Wind.  While this is Carlos second book, it is actually a prequel, set in a time before The Shadow of the Wind (about 20 years before if I'm not mistaken)

I do think that Carlos Ruiz Zafon is such a genius in creating a character like David Martin, a man who is so complex and so unreal and whom the author has given so much talent as an author too.  Maybe David was trumatized after witnessing his father's death when he was just about 10 years old and after suffering rejection by his mother but the adult David Martin appears rather normal for most part of the book.  His complexity and dark side stays hidden and it's only towards the end that I got a glimpse of who he might be but yet at the same time I was still rather unwilling to believe and rather prefer the ending that David gave himself for in actual fact that might not be what it is.

However, the author gave a hint on where he could be in Rose of Fire, a short story that tells about the origin of the Cementery of Forgotten Books.  His location is also revealed in the third book, The Prisoner of Heaven and having known all this, it really makes one think of the reality of all that took place in The Angel's Game.  The book ended in year 1945 but if you manage to read Rose of Fire, the date stated is 1940 so it's either David managed to get himself out of the 1940 situation by 1945 or he is still where he is and the ending to The Angel's Game is just in his mind.  I just love it!

If I choose to believe that all that happened to David was as what he said it was, then that also gives me an idea of who Andreas Corelli actually is and his part in what we shall call the insanity of David Matin and that really elevates the storyline for me.

It has been a long time since I read a book that really makes me think about it even weeks after I read it.  It really is memorable and I have a feeling that I will continue to marvel by it in days, weeks and even years to come.  I really hope someone will come around and turn this into a movie and with the right director and actors, it has award winning qualities.

I can't wait to read book #3, The Prisoner of Heaven.

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