Saturday, January 01, 2005

:: Out of the Fire and into the Shadow ::

With the big family reunion out of the way and most of the holiday socials over, I finally had enough down time to catch up on my reading.

I gave up on Fire after only 30 pages. It's not really a novel but a collection of essays and articles that might have been interesting when they first came out in magazines, but the book never managed to hold my attention for long even though I am, rather, was, fascinated by fire (enough to have nearly set my grandfather's house on fire when I was seven or eight and experimenting with matches and paper in his bodega).

I am now reading the English translation of Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I wish I had enough command of Spanish to read it in the original language, but that will have to wait for another time. My interest in this book was piqued by comments of friends in Spain and the NY Times book review:
Daniel, a 10-year-old boy dangerously grieving for his mother's death some years before -- "I can't remember Mommy's face" -- is taken by his solicitous bookseller father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. In this Borgesian labyrinth each book awaits someone to choose it, make it part of his or her life, and thereby renew its own lost life. Mostly for its handsome binding, little Daniel picks out a novel eponymously titled ''The Shadow of the Wind,'' by an obscure Spanish writer, Julián Carax. The choice will melodramatically shape the child's life, launching him as a young man, five years later, upon the garish, gothic quest that is the elaborate centerpiece of Ruiz Zafón's novel.

... "Gabriel García Márquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges" for a sprawling magic show, exasperatingly tricky and mostly wonderful...

... (the) main story is... zestfully convoluted...
And what are you reading these days?


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