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 The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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Registration date : 2011-07-19

PostSubject: The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón   Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:38 pm

The Angel’s Game opens in 1917, in the editor’s office of the Voice of Industry newspaper in Barcelona. Our hero is David Martin, a man whose only solace is books and stories, whether reading them or writing them. One night David happens to be in the right place at the right time and is asked to write a short fiction piece for his newspaper. The story became so popular that it became a regular thing. As the year went on David became even more isolated from his co-workers, who were no longer intimidated by his awkward, aloof behaviour, but instead intimidated by his success and obvious talent. By the time the year is out, David finds himself signing a publishing deal with a pair of unscrupulous publishers Barrido & Escobillas, who ask that David spend all his time and talent to writing a series of penny dreadfuls asking for approximately two hundred pages a month. David uses the money from his new publishing deal to rent out a tower house that he has been drawn to for some years.

David spends the next few years wasting away from lack of sleep and food to meet the impossible deadline set by Barrido and Escobillas. David is unhappy with his work and life and soon finds himself making a deal with a mysterious Parisian publisher named Andreas Corelli. Corelli pays David 100,000 francs to write a religious book. Corelli tells David that he wants him to write a book that people will die for, kill for and fight for, in other words, Corelli wishes David to be the author of a new religion.

Having made what he feels to be a Faustian deal. David soon learns that a number of people who are standing in the way of his book being written are being murdered one by one. Things are only made worse when he discovers that the previous resident of the tower house was also the author of a religious text, albeit, unfinished.

David spends the rest of the novel in the shadow of the previous resident and his only light in a world that seems to be going rapidly dark is his young assistant, the lovely Isabella, an aspiring writer who wishes to learn at the foot of the master, or as she confesses, at the foot of the only published writer she knows.

The bulk of the events take place in 1930, five years before Daniel Sempere (the hero of The Shadow of the Wind) is even born, however the Sempere family play a large part in David’s life as an adopted family of sorts. David learns of the Cemetery of Forgotten books and its origins is explored a little more, but not overly so.

The novel’s protagonist is a dry and often very aloof, sarcastic character, such characters usually tend to annoy me very early on, but David is an absolute delight to read. He is not an unpleasant guy, but not very nice either. He is clearly a man who has grown up alone and everyone he knows leaves him eventually. His sarcasm as a self-defence mechanism is very well crafted, as is every square inch of this masterful novel. His treatment of Isabella borders on the comedic to the downright cruel. He often appears afraid of her, and sometimes afraid that she too will leave him.

The first section is David’s Künstlerroman. His struggle with writing literature that he deems beneath him, to his first ‘honest’ novel being panned by critics, to his finally accepting Corelli’s offer.

The second part is about the composition of the book and David’s investigation into his predecessor’s life and work.

The Third and final part is about the game itself, a game that rapidly transpires into a hellish nightmare for David that has him doubting all that he sees and hears.

All in all this is a follow-up novel that can stand on its own merit but also matches its predecessor in style, characters and settling. The Shadow of the Wind was a hard act to follow, but Zafon pulled it off without emulating the original.

For more information on the author, Please vist: http://www.carlosruizzafon.co.uk/ where you can also sign up to read an exclusive short story entitled Los Angeles by Gaslight.
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