by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I seem to be into a run of books about books - this one came on Belle's recommendation.
Its a story set in Barcelona at the time of the Civil War and traces Daniel, the son of a bookseller, as he is introduced to the 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books'. He is invited to take one volume for his own and Daniel discovers a book by the an obscure author called Julian Carax, which he finds fascinating, and so do others.
The odd thing is that all the books by this mysterious author are being bought up and destroyed, but why?. Daniel decides to learn more about Cerax, but the more he discovers the more convoluted the tale becomes. Zafron has written a masterpiece of narrative, building sub plot upon plot with a huge cast of characters all cleverly thought out and brought to life.
Daniels curiosity and determination bring him into increasing conflict, and the closer he gets to the truth the more dangerous things become for Daniel and those around him. Wheels turn within wheels and whilst there is little action, the plot is both compelling and haunting.
Its no light read, but neither is it difficult to access. Its a book lovers book, a book about books, book sellers, book authors, books collectors and book readers. The intensity of the plot means you need to take it slowly, but even so the end comes too soon. And what an end it is with more twists than a corkscrew and a final turn of events I never saw coming.
This is a quality read, with the ends all neatly tied off. If that is not enough it comes complete with discussion questions - book group ready. In its way this is a contemporary masterpiece and well worth a read. It comes highly recommended.