Goodbye to Barcelona

Next Tuesday, September 18, sees the publication (at last) of the Lucia Graves English translation of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s El Laberinto de los Espiritus.

The novel, The Labyrinth of Spirits in English, is the final part of the author’s cycle of stories set in Barcelona, sometimes referred to as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. I don’t go for series novels much but have enjoyed this one immensely. It may be the historical background, or the fact that books feature largely in the stories – I don’t know – but it has captured my interest as few other series do. I especially like that each of the first three books – The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven  – is complete in itself and can be read without worrying too much about what has gone before or what is coming next. The unresolved issues are less important than the development of the plot or the quality of the writing.

Of The Shadow of the Wind, I wrote, ‘The novel is literary, for sure, but it is also a historical romance with Gothic overtones …. It is a story that sometimes shocks but often makes you laugh. And just once of twice, it makes you shed a tear or two.’

In The Angels’s Game‘Zafon explores the no-man’s land between fantasy and reality with great skill …. His technique …. allows him to blur the actual boundary.’

The Prisoner of Heaven raises the shade of Edmond Dantes in Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo. In a plot which echoes part of the latter work, Zafon once again ‘challenges our idea of the conventional hero [and] introduces us to a villain with no apparent redeeming qualities.’ ^^^

I have deliberately avoided reading any press or ARC comments (I’m sure there must be a few around) on The Labyrinth of Spirits and am very much looking forward to picking up my copy next week.


^^^ complete reviews of all three books are included in my little book Classic Reviews available from Amazon


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