Goodreads: 5 Starts.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón wrote a dark and shadowy Barcelona, ‘dark’ is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Barcelona but in this book the theme of ‘shadows’ and mystery is a device used to create a modern Gothic narrative. On my copy of the book, this novel is described as a ‘Thriller.’ Which it might be. What it is, in fact, is a fusion of humour, the Gothic/ horror, and according to Zafón himself a “feel-good novel.” Which it is, including the above mentioned things, this really did makes one feel good, after making them feel all sorts of awful it circles back to a whole lot of good.
I devoured all 500+ pages in a matter of days. I’m a slow reader but by abandoning all my responsibilities, showering less, and taking the book with me to the bathroom; I was done reading in less than a week. And I regret nothing! Except that I didn’t read it sooner, thinking it was just another generic work of popular fiction. And someone may disagree, although I don’t know of many who would, but this is anything but generic.
“Gilbert prided himself on being an unusually well-informed man. No doubt the sun did too. No doubt the sun knew why the clouds formed and why the wind blew and why the lizards basked in its warmth, and all this immense knowledge made the sun gay and bright, full of trust and affection for mankind. But there were shut-away worlds, full of mistrust and hate, and it was about this side that Makhaya was particularly well informed.” (p. 89)
I usually don’t like to read books that simply by their title suggest there will be tears but this text takes a well known subject and turns it into an original piece of literature. Based on the real story of Ivan Mishukov, the narrative follows little Romochka and his pack around Moscow as they learn to provide for their little family.
Note: when referencing the book i use the following text.
This is a short but powerful read. Toni Morrison, in her attempt to write outside the stereotypes of her race (as she explains in her essay ‘Home’ in ‘The House that Race Built’), she puts together a narrative that is both fictional and historical with a unique perspective on slavery. In just 176 pages she covers a wide scope that punches quite a kick.