Tag-Archive for ◊ murders ◊

Author:
• Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Carlos Ruiz Zafon was born in Barcelona in 1964. He started his writing career with four fiction books for young adults and in 1993 was awarded the Spanish Edebé literary prize for one of them: The Prince of Mist.

His first fiction for adults and big success, The Shadow of the Wind, was published in 2002 and translated into several languages. Zafon, also a screen writer, has been living in Los Angeles since 1993, but has kept his house in Barcelona.

The Angel’s Game, published in Spanish in 2008 and in English in 2009 and translated into several other languages, is reminiscent of Zafon’s first successful novel, The Shadow of the Wind. The two books have in common the Gothic atmosphere, the world of literature which involves the love of books and the book-selling universe, plus the cemetery of forgotten books.

The story, charmingly and humorously narrated with sarcasm in parts by the leading character, David Martin, is set in Barcelona. It starts in 1917 and ends in 1945, but the main series of events take place in the 1920s.

David Martin, born into a poor family, had a tormented childhood with a violent father and a mother who abandoned him. He found solace in books and became a book-lover and an ardent reader at an early age. Later he became an acclaimed writer because of his sensational stories of the doomed citizens of Barcelona. Just like Zafon, Martin was influenced by the nineteenth century writers and especially his favourite English novelist, Charles Dickens, who portrayed destitute Londoners and wrote about the importance of reforming the society of his time.

Martin was approached by a mysterious recluse French publisher, Andreas Corelli, who made him a financial offer he couldn’t refuse. He had to write a book like no other, a book about a new religion, a book that will take hold of the populace’s heart and mind. Martin accepted the deal without suspecting that he was selling his soul to the devil, it is a Faustian bargain with all it entailed, a high price to pay. Martin finds himself going through a dark labyrinth of an eerie universe involving tragic intrigues, murders and deceptions, in a supernatural environment of mysterious adventures and unfulfilled tragic romance.

The Angel’s Game is a book about the power of books and their consequences on some people’s lives, a lyric apologia for books, book reading and book writing. It is a densely dark novel about good and evil with regard to the human soul. A highly complex plot, teeming with characters and events, evolving in a supernatural world.

Despite the lengthy and wearisome theological debates between Martin and Corelli and the disappointingly melodramatic rushed epilogue, The Angel’s Game remains an enthralling novel conceived with intensely vivid imagination. The rich, detailed description of the City of Barcelona gives some depth to the story and makes the city stand out as another character in the novel.

In one of his interviews, Zafon has mentioned that The Shadow of The Wind is about redemption and the Angel’s Game is about damnation. Then he stressed that “our choices make us who we are”. It is up to any person to decide if he wants to think for himself or if he would rather surrender to other people’s beliefs.

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Author:
• Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Nicholas Sparks was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1965. He is the second of three children. His brother Michael is still alive, but his younger sister Danielle is deceased. His father was a professor and his mother was a housewife and then an optometrist’s assistant.

He majored in Business Finance and graduated from the University of Notre Dame with high honours in 1988.

After having been rejected by publishers and law schools, Nicholas Sparks worked in different fields, including estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products and starting his own manufacturing business. He was married in 1989 and lived in Sacramento before moving in 1992 to New Bern, North Carolina where he sold pharmaceuticals and where he is living today with his wife and five children.

Nicholas Sparks wrote his first novel, The Passing, in the summer of 1985 which was never published. His second unpublished novel, The Royal Murders, was written in 1989.

He is a prolific writer, he wrote fourteen books between 1996 and 2008:
The Note Book was published in 1996 and was made into a film.
Message in a Bottle in 1998 was also made into a film.
A Walk to Remember in 1999 was also a film.
The Rescue 2000.
A Bend in the Road in 2001.
Nights in Rodanthe 2002 was made into a film.
The Guardian 2003.
The Wedding 2003.
Three Weeks with my Brother 2004.
True Believer 2005.
At First Sight 2005.
Dear John 2006.
The Choice 2007.
The Lucky One 2008.

The Wedding is an easy to read, romantic story, about love between a husband, Wilson Lewis, the narrator, a hard working estate lawyer and his wife Jane. The novel recounts their relationship and the renewed efforts and vows orchestrated by the main character, Wilson Lewis, in an attempt to rekindle the lost romantic courtship, like in the early days of his relationship with Jane.

Wilson endeavours to win his wife back by trying hard to regain her love once more. After thirty years of marriage and after realizing that he loves Jane more than ever and therefore didn’t want to lose her, now that the romance and passion have gone out of their wedlock, he takes an important decision after forgetting his 29th wedding anniversary.

Wilson decides to spend the year leading up to his 30th anniversary secretly preparing a big surprise for the wife he adores, with the advice of his romantic father-in-law, Noah, and with the help of their three children, Leslie, Joseph and Anna.

He sets his mind to giving her the love and care that her parents gave to each other for fifty years. He also starts re-courting her and being attentive and considerate while planning to organise the wedding she always dreamed of having in order to make up for the simple civil wedding she had to settle for previously.

Anna will pretend to want to have her wedding on the same day as her parents wedding anniversary. The whole novel will be recounting all the preparation leading up to the big day until the happy, welcome and original twist at the end since the readers believe that the story is about Anna’s wedding all the way through the novel.

The author in the prologue asks the question : “Is it possible, I wonder, for a man to truly change?” The epilogue gives the answer : “Yes, I decided, a man can truly change” if given a second chance, true love will always prevail.

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