This review has no spoilers. It is a posthumous honorary review to one of the best Spanish speaking authors that have ever existed!
Because it is not what he says. Although that too. It is more the way he says it. It is the description of the human emotions, that sometimes are so predatory. It is the analogy, the magical idealism, the use of the dialect of those years, the Spanish traditions of the XX Century that we thought were long gone.
It is also the spell that is caused by its characters, experts in awakening sleeping minds. It’s the absolute fatherly kindness of Mr. Sampere, the innocence and impulsiveness of his son Daniel, who chases a story within another book found at the ‘Cemetery of the Forgotten Books’ that brings him and his father a lot of problems because he is attracted to those problems like a magnet. And contrasting all the kindness is the evil soul of agent Fumero. It is also the fawning society of the society, the condescending tone of the police with the criminals, the deference of the women to their destiny, usually dark, that always awaited because they were women.
Because this book blows your mind away. The present stories mix up with the ones in the past. At the end it is difficult to know which is more imaginary and subtle than the other, or at which moment did we move from reality to dreaming away. There is the story of Julián Carax and Penélope Aldaya, where the past meets the present blending life and death, love and pain, torture and rest. Because, who is the real protagonist of this story? Is it Daniel Sampere or is it Julián Carax? And which story? It seems that there are various tales within the book. The narratives are so rich and delicious, like eating a big chocolate cake, and the liquid chocolate inside comes from the sweetness of these characters.
And is there anyone in this world like Fermín Romero de Torres? Nothing touched better my soul that his naughtiness. His physical description, his moral and political values makes him an adorable and admirable human being. His intellectual achievements and his use of the language, specifically the slang made me laugh out loud, and cry out loud. All in this characters tastes sweet and salty, especially his love for Bernarda, unconditional, sneaky and full of happiness.
Every time I had to close this book I gave it a little hug close to my heart. That is why the book is a little battered, I carried everywhere as if it where my baby. Like the keys of my house, like my umbrella on a rainy day. I put in my lap as one put a toddler and I grabbed its corners like to someone you don’t want to let go.
This book is the first of a tetralogy that I would have to finish. There is no more option. Once you are into Ruiz Safón, you don’t let go.
A book that deserves all five stars, and more than that, a 100% recommended.