"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I listened to this one and maybe it would have been better if I read it. It was too detailed and convoluted for my pea brain to follow on audio.

The reader, however,  was excellent. He had a very nice voice and he conveyed the sarcastic wit of the main character very well. And speaking of sarcastic wit...

That is one thing that I really enjoyed about this book. The main character has this wry, glass-is-half-empty, sarcastic wit that is consistently humorous throughout. There are also several intriguing lines that provoke deeper thought. For example, the antagonist makes use of the saying 'tell me what you boast of and I'll tell you what you lack'. That got me to thinking about what I may boast of and if it's a trait or quality I possess in actuality or just one I wish I did. I can always appreciate a book that gives me something to mull over. The police inspector is a great character. He's very vivid and funny in his own way. He and the main character are perhaps the best developed characters in the novel.

What made this book difficult for me to follow is the plot was very detailed and involved. I found myself wishing more than once that I had the book in hand so I could flip back a few pages and find out again who a character was. It takes place in Barcelona so many of the names of places and people sounded similar to my untrained ear and I had a terrible time distinguishing one from the next. The plot line is strange enough that it left me wondering if the author does acid, has done acid, or was birthed by parents who partook. The main character goes through some phases of personality that don't seem to go together. It almost seems like the author couldn't get a handle on what kind of guy David was going to be. The first 1/3 of the book portrays David as this orphaned kid who's just trying to make something of himself and do the right thing. He works hard, dreams big, and is constantly seeking the parental like approval from the adults surrounding him. He's endearing and you just want to hug him. In the second part of the book he's a crabby, crotchety loner who shuts himself up in a big, scary house and grouses at people. It's so resonant of Jane Eyre that the author goes so far as to reference Bronte's Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre more than once. That's too much for me. Come up with your own crabby old man and tolerant housemate. Jane and Mr. Rochester are taken already. And then David morphs again- back to endearing guy from part one. There is little rhyme or reason to these changes in character. I can see how David's, life would make him bitter and crabby so the possibility is there it just wasn't orchestrated very well. You're going along feeling sorry for this poor cute little orphaned young man and then you get to the next chapter and BAM- he's a bastard. So you go along not liking him much for awhile and then BAM- he's a poor man shunned by everyone he ever loved and trapped in a conspiracy 20 years old and now you've got to feel sorry for him again. Keeping up with this guy's mood swings is exhausting!

You will find an official plot line description at:

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