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Old 09-05-2012, 04:54 PM   #16
WT Sharpe
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I never did come to grips with Thomas's rage to discover Daniel was dating his sister. Some friend he was.
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:30 PM   #17
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I was actually okay with the happy ending, although I would have liked more interaction between Thomas and Daniel. I found that entire relationship to be unsatisfactory.
I totally agree! I guess that's why I really didn't think too much of how their friendship supposedly was changed, because I really didn't see much of it to begin with.

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Old 09-11-2012, 05:47 PM   #18
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Carlos Ruiz Zafon certainly has a way with words, if Lucia Graves's translation is any indication.

Quote:
I am told that sometimes she [Clara Barceló] still sees her old music teacher, Adrián Neri, whose symphony is still unfinished and who, it seems, has made a career as a gigolo among the ladies of the Liceo circle, where his bedroom acrobatics have earned him the nickname “The Magic Flute.”
And while I'm pointing out one of the "bluer" passages on the work, I'd like to say that Fermín seems to be onto something rather profound as reported in this conversation between him and Daniel, even if his language describing his insight was rather crude:
Quote:
“Did you get to feel her up?”
“No.”
“A good sign. Never trust girls who let themselves be touched right away. But even less those who need a priest for approval.”

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Old 09-11-2012, 09:58 PM   #19
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I especially enjoyed the dialog between Daniel and Fermin. Very insightful and poetic at times. I was less enamored of the "confession letter" near the end but it did wrap most things up. The descriptions of Barcelona were wonderful and yet not overdone. You felt as if you were really there and it's obvious the author was there.

Considering this was translated from Spanish I thought it was very well written. The original language must be even better. I plan on reading the sequel someday.
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:08 AM   #20
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“You’re as good as gold, Bernarda,” he [Gustavo] would say indignantly. “These people who see sin everywhere are sick in their souls and, if you really press me, in their bowels. The endemic condition of the Iberian saint is chronic constipation.” Every time she heard such blasphemy, Bernarda would make the sign of the cross five times over. Later, at night, she would say a prayer for the tainted soul of Mr. Barceló, who had a good heart but whose brains had rotted away due to excessive reading, like that fellow Sancho Panza.
A cautionary tale for MobileRead members?
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:41 PM   #21
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Considering this was translated from Spanish I thought it was very well written. The original language must be even better.
I really wish I could read Spanish! My daughter read it in Spanish and thought it was fantastic. I think she said "almost poetic".
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
...whose brains had rotted away due to excessive reading....
A cautionary tale for MobileRead members?
Then again, we have this from Fermín Romero de Torres:
Quote:
“Television, my dear Daniel, is the Antichrist, and I can assure you that after only three or four generations, people will no longer even know how to fart on their own and humans will return to living in caves, to medieval savagery, and to the general state of imbecility that slugs overcame back in the Pleistocene era. Our world will not die as a result of the bomb, as the papers say, it will die of laughter, of banality, of making a joke of everything, and a lousy joke at that.”
Maybe Mr. Zafon is promoting live drama!
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:07 AM   #23
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Finally getting to this. Only 10% in, but the writing is beautiful.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:11 PM   #24
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The writing is indeed beautiful.

And while I'm on a roll quoting passages about writing or media, here's a rather nice zinger to keep on hand next time someone tells you that reading is boring:

Quote:
Julián held out his hand, and Jorge Aldaya shook it. His touch was lukewarm, unenthusiastic, and his face had a pale, chiseled look that came from having grown up in that doll-like world. His clothes and shoes seemed to Julián like something out of a novel. His eyes gave off an air of bravado and arrogance, of disdain and sugary politeness. Julián smiled at him openly, reading insecurity, fear, and emptiness under that shell of vanity and complacency. “Is it true you haven’t read any of these books?”

“Books are boring.”

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you,” answered Julián.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:44 PM   #25
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The writing is indeed beautiful.

And while I'm on a roll quoting passages about writing or media, here's a rather nice zinger to keep on hand next time someone tells you that reading is boring:
Thanks for the quotes. I had forgotten about these. Fermin's description of women and relationships were what I remembered most.

Will you read the next book in the series? It is available through Overdrive.
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Old 09-13-2012, 06:25 PM   #26
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I may read it one day, but not now.

Yes, Fermin was an earthy old coot, but he seemed to know relationships.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:42 AM   #27
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This has been on my TBR forever, it seems.

I was charmed by the conceit of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, what reader wouldn't be? And I was looking forward to social commentary on post-Civil War Spain and life in the Fascist period. Ultimately, though, I was disappointed in the book. It turned out to be sheerest melodrama, overwrought and overblown, down to the bodies in the basement. The unraveling of the mystery of Carfax held my attention for a while, but long before the reveal I realized he was Lain Coubert and that Penelope was his sister. Just as an aside, a Penelope and a Beatriz? Nor were they the only too-obvious names.

It was fair enough for Ruiz Zafon to use the device of long-lost letters to advance the plot; the info dump from Father Ramos was clunky and the missive from Nuria was unforgivable, especially as it included things she could not possibly have known. The author got lazy and couldn't see his way to incorporate the information more organically, apparently.

I liked the battle between good and evil as personified by Fermin and Fumero and the evocation of life in Barcelona, the city as a living entity. The story itself, however, gets a huge meh from me. Perhaps if my expectations hadn't been so great I wouldn't have been so underwhelmed.
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:08 PM   #28
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It was fair enough for Ruiz Zafon to use the device of long-lost letters to advance the plot; the info dump from Father Ramos was clunky and the missive from Nuria was unforgivable, especially as it included things she could not possibly have known. The author got lazy and couldn't see his way to incorporate the information more organically, apparently.
I thought the use of a "confession" in the form of a letter was a poor decision. But most mystery writers use them so I guess I must learn to acquiesce.
But I didn't dwell on the plot instead on the dialogue between characters and the descriptions of Barcelona. The translated writing was above average compared to other titles I've read recently.
Now that you mention it the book did have that 1930s-B&W-movie melodrama feel to it. But then I watch those on TCM.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:14 PM   #29
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Almost halfway through now. What an absolutely delicious mystery. Although this has been a slow read for me, I'm mesmerised by it.

I had bought this book for my mother some years ago as a present and she said she thoroughly enjoyed it. I believe I will buy her the others for Christmas.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:33 AM   #30
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I really enjoyed the book, as I've already said. But one detail does annoy me:
The timline for the pregnancy! It just doesn't add up! Warning! Sort of pointless rant ahead! I think I'll hide so you don't have to see it!
Spoiler:

Since it's been some weeks since I finished the book I don't remember all the details but as I recall it Bea and Daniel met and had sex a couple of times, not many days apart. She was going to contact him a few days after the "last" encounter. When she didn't he waited a few more days and the pregnancy was confirmed not much later (she went to the doctor - as I understood it about a week, maximum two weeks after they first had sex). C'mon! I'm not saying she couldn't have become pregnant right away, but this was in the 50's. It took a lot longer than that to have a pregnancy confirmed! I just think this was an unncessary added "drama" added. An obvious factual improbability that didn't exactly ruin the book, but sort of "stained" it.


Edit: That's of course unless the baby isn't actually Daniel's... If Bea was already pregnant when she started seeing Daniel it makes much more sense. Sort of...

Last edited by Asawi; 09-16-2012 at 05:20 AM.
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