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I "read" it all the way through only because of the wonderful narrative by Mr Wilby. The story was not gripping and very average.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Daniel lives with his father in a flat above their second hand bookstore in central Barcelona. They are close and reasonably happy despite the shadow cast over them by the loss of their beloved wife and mother. One day the father takes the son to the “Cemetery of Lost Books”, a hidden and secret archive which contains at least one copy of every book ever printed. Daniel is instructed to select one book of which he will be the keeper, and in being so he will keep alive the book, the memory of the writer and a sense all who have ever handled and read it. After selecting his book a complex train of events, centered on the mysterious writer Julian Carax, is set in motion. There is the search for the writer, an unlikely friendship, unrequited love, forbidden teenage romance, brutal and corrupt authority, mystery and suspense. Set in Barcelona on the eve of the Spanish civil war, this novel is a snapshot of time that is about to be ground into the dust by the jackboot of totalitarianism. Through the writers well honed descriptive powers we get a clear sense of the city, the prevailing Spanish culture of the time and a taste of the civil war which is about to erupt. There are some wonderful moments in this novel, but at times it lacks a real authenticity, a certain hollowness pervades the narrative and this prevents it from becoming a great story. However, we need to weigh this reviewers opinion against the fact that this novel is highly regarded and was an international best seller. Judge for yourself.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
A wonderful story of determination,love and dogged perseverance. A beautiful and intricately woven tale with many twists and turns. Carlos Ruiz Zafon gives us a wonderful insight into turbulent times in Barcelona. Thoroughly enjoyable
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
This was my fourth download from Audible and I have to say that it's the first that has been disappointing. The narration is extremely irritating, with unnecessary melodramatic music slipped in here and there.
James Wilby's narration is plain awful. His 'Clara' reminds me of something from Monty Python. He imposes British rural accents on characters (a Cockney accent for Bernarda the maid, and an Irish accent for a drunken homeless man, for example.) This is supposed to be Barcelona, not the United Nations on a very bad day, James!
What's more, it's clear that James Wilby is uncomfortable with speaking Spanish and has to prepare himself to speak each Spanish name as he comes across it in the text as he indulges in a huge white-noise gap before he pronounces each one.
I haven't bothered to listen to the preview of an audible book since dowloading the first one and finding the quality excellent. However, I certainly will in future...
I hope the story itself picks up soon (I'm an hour in) and transports me beyond the nightmare of the audio.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but when I picked up this book before I boarded a 17 hour flight I didn't realize that I would choose my forever favourite book. I have read that book nearing 20 times and each time I enjoy it more and more. When I found the audio book, I was thrilled!
Carlos Ruiz Zafon is my Julian Carax. The way he tells the story is superb, I have never been so enthralled in a story. I laughed, I cried and I felt genuine fear.
Could not recommend this book enough!