Although the selection is much smaller than Indiebound, I have found some great authors through this. One of those is Carlos Ruis Zaphon. If you have not read his wonderful American debut, The Shadow of the Wind, I have to tell you that you are missing out on one of the most hypnotic and engaging reads of all time.
The book was released in 2004 and it was almost a year later that I purchased the audio version to get me through the 20-hour car ride when we decided to pick up and move. One hour out of Denver, with still more than half the book to go, I hit a defect in the discs. Agh! A blank spot. No audio whatsoever!
After that horrendously long trek with my doped up kitty and our caravan of cars, you can imagine all I wanted to do was relax a bit before we started unpacking. Not to be had! I was desperate to make a trip to the bookstore to trade out my defective audio for a real, live, hold-it-in-your-hands copy of the book. All that, and the book has become one of my ultimate favorites. If I have posted about it before, you will have to forgive me, but the book is just that good. And, even better, the prequel is finally set to hit shelves this summer. I can't freaking wait!
Shadow of the Wind is a 100% gothic read. I love it. I think it was/is part of a modern gothic trend that I really wish was more prevalent. I've loved each and every book that I have found that fits this category, but sadly there just aren't that many to choose from.
Anyway, because I just read in my PW that Angel's Game is due out soon (summer seems so long to wait, but it will come soon enough), I figure it's time for me to get those of you who haven't read this out to the store (or library) to find a copy (or to get the one you loaned to a friend back, Marina!). And since I read it WAY before I started doing my reviews, here the synopsis courtesy of PW (you can read the whole review at Amazon.com):
"Ruiz Zafón's novel, a bestseller in his native Spain, takes the satanic touches from Angel Heart and stirs them into a bookish intrigue à la Foucault's Pendulum. The time is the 1950s; the place, Barcelona. Daniel Sempere, the son of a widowed bookstore owner, is 10 when he discovers a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax's novels. The man calls himself Laín Coubert-the name of the devil in one of Carax's novels. As he grows up, Daniel's fascination with the mysterious Carax links him to a blind femme fatale with a "porcelain gaze," Clara Barceló; another fan, a leftist jack-of-all-trades, Fermín Romero de Torres; his best friend's sister, the delectable Beatriz Aguilar; and, as he begins investigating the life and death of Carax, a cast of characters with secrets to hide. Officially, Carax's dead body was dumped in an alley in 1936. But discrepancies in this story surface. Meanwhile, Daniel and Fermín are being harried by a sadistic policeman, Carax's childhood friend. As Daniel's quest continues, frightening parallels between his own life and Carax's begin to emerge."
So get out there and read it! June will be here before you know it and I'm willing to bet that Angel's Game is going to be as magnificent as Shadow of the Wind was. Lord knows I'm a big fan of taking chilling gothic reads to the beach. I did read Rebecca in the swimming pool, after all, and that's set the tone for me. Warm sunshine to balance the bleak and shadowy corners of a creepy gothic-style story.
Readers who love a little mystery, and history, and books about books are going to love this one.