by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Reviewer Rating:


I’m pretty sure that somewhere in the orientation paperwork it was stated that, as a librarian, I am required to love this book. Same goes for booksellers or, really, anybody who loves books. Well, I am bucking that trend. I just didn’t like it.

Now, don’t get me wrong: the descriptions of the mist-laden streets of mid-20th-century Barcelona are lovely. I have been assured by world travelers that this book is really the only way to truly experience Barcelona, short of booking a trip. But the saccharine romantic storyline and the overly intricate melodrama are so overdone, so overwrought, that I felt a little sticky after each time I read a bit of it. To avoid workplace arguments, I need to stress that I wanted to love this book as much as everybody else does. I do love books and books-about-books. And I’ve always had a soft spot for gothic fiction. This one just didn’t do it for me. The audiobook features a musical accompaniment composed by the author, which was incredibly distracting, so that may partly account for my negative reaction. Somebody recommended Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore as a great alternative book-for-book-lovers and I didn’t like that one, either. Bah, humbug.

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