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Old 09-21-2012, 02:05 PM   #31
Kevin8or
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TSotW was chock-full of elements that could (I would think) push the story beyond a mere novel to the status of a compulsive page-turner: a mysterious villian, buried family secrets, standoff of good & evil (fermin & fumero), coming of age, beautiful descriptions of Barcelona, spiced with humor...

Yet I never felt a compulsion to continue reading. Two to four chapters, and I felt satisfied. I set it down and returned later, perhaps the next day. Maybe this is a book to be savored rather than devoured. I loved the translation, for the most part, and concur that the portrayal of post-war Barcelona is one of the best aspects of the story.

Others here are spot-on in their criticism of over-reliance on artificial revelations. It felt like the author belatedly realized, "Oh my, I need to bring this story to a close. How can I do that? Aha! I'll put it all in a letter!"

Anyway, an enjoyable and often beautiful story. I'm glad to have read it and yet I wouldn't recommend it to a friend, not with the vast ocean of other, amazing books available.
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:02 AM   #32
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Yes, I agree with your thoughts on the book. It is best to read in small doses and reflect for a moment. I do feel that I've now experienced Barcelona.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:44 PM   #33
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So I finally finished. I loved this story.

I loved the winding, meandering nature of Daniel's discoveries, and I enjoyed the parallels between the investigation and Daniel's own life - Penelopé and Bea.

When I finally read the letter towards the end that pulled everything together I was completely absorbed.

I will look to read the other books at some stage because the quality of the writing (or translation) was high and the story really did creep up on me. I agree that it wasn't a page-turner as such. It was more a book that I enjoyed in smaller doses.
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