I just can’t get over how much I enjoyed this book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The story revolves around Daniel, a young boy when we first meet him, and a book he finds when his father takes him to the mysterious Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The story takes place in Barcelona and spans almost 20 years (from 1945 to 1966). There is mystery surrounding the book in Daniel’s possession and the novel follows his journey to uncover the truth.
Well it’s a story about love, deception, greed, lust and…unbridled enthusiasm. That’s what led to Billy Mumphrey’s downfall… You see Elaine, Billy was a simple country boy. You might say a cockeyed optimist, who got himself mixed up in the high stakes game of world diplomacy and international intrigue.
Woops! Sorry about that…went into Seinfeld mode there for a second…
But seriously, this book has it all, intrigue, mystery, scary parts, disturbing parts, insane asylums, haunted mansions, corrupt police, war, love, humor, and a character who may, or may not, be the devil. Absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend. Oh and the writing is just gorgeous! I feel deeply in love a few chapters in.
Some more little bits and bites that stuck out are below. I should also just preface them by saying that ever since I can remember I have been in the habit of writing down parts of books (words, sentences, paragraphs) in notebooks that I will revisit from time to time. It is interesting for me to see what the past me thought was intriguing, funny, beautiful. I would of course love it if through the course of reading these quotes you were convinced to pick up the book and would enjoy it as much as I have, but ultimately, I have recorded them here for myself. For future me to revisit…and to save some trees along the way.
“This business of courtship is like a tango: absurd and pure embellishment. But you’re the man, and you must take the lead”
It was all beginning to look pretty grim. “The lead? Me?”
“What do you expect? One has to pay some price for being able to piss standing up.”
“Sometimes we think people are like lottery tickets, that they’re there to make our most absurd dreams come true.”
The last time they had seen each other face-to-face, they were half the age they were now. They had parted as boys, and now life presented one of them with a fugitive and the other with a dying man. Both wondered whether this was due to the cards they’d been dealt or to the way they had played them.
Nothing feeds forgetfulness better than war… We all keep quiet and they try to convince us that what we’ve seen, what we’ve done, what we’ve learned about ourselves and about others, is an illusion, a passing nightmare. Wars have no memory, and nobody has the courage to understand them until there are no voices left to tell what happened, until the moment comes when we no longer recognize them and they return, with another face and another name, to devour what they left behind.
Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it’s an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.