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El ciego de Sevilla by Robert Wilson
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El ciego de Sevilla (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Robert Wilson

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Title:El ciego de Sevilla
Authors:Robert Wilson
Info:Rba Libros (2004), Paperback
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The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson (2003)

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English (17)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  English (22)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I guess I would classify this book as noir detective fiction which is a contradiction in terms according to Wikipedia which defines noir fiction as "Noir fiction (or roman noir) is a literary genre closely related to hardboiled genre with a distinction that the protagonist is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator." Javier Falcon is the protagonist of this book and he is a detective with the Seville police force but the other elements of noir fiction that Wikipedia gives "Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the protagonist. A typical protagonist of the Noir fiction is dealing with the legal, political or other system that is no less corrupt than the perpetrator by whom the protagonist is either victimized and/or has to victimize others on a daily basis, leading to Lose-lose situation."
are certainly there.

Javier Falcon is forty-something and trying to conduct a police investigation into a brutal death while dealing with his separation from his wife and the fairly recent death of his father who was a famous artist. As he delves deeper into the history of the dead man he starts to confront truths about his father, his mother (who died while he was young) and his second mother (as he calls the woman who married his father after his mother's death). Falcon senior left instructions in his will, of which Javier is the executor, that everything in his studio was to be burned. Javier hasn't been able to do this but he does finally enter the studio and start looking. He discovers journals that his father wrote for years before and after he became a father. But there was a note with the journals telling Javier to burn them as well without looking at them. This Javier cannot do and he discovers things he never knew from reading them. His investigation into the brutal death and his discovery of his father's true nature start to braid together and affect him psychologically. Can he retain his sanity and solve this crime? Perhaps but he will come close to rock bottom doing so. ( )
  gypsysmom | Dec 2, 2015 |
This is an incredibly detailed and complex thriller about a series of murders on the periphery of the art community in Seville. The Inspector Jefe (the lead investigator) is Javier Falcon, the son of a (recently deceased) famous artist, and the victims are (or are associated with) people who were close to Javier's father.

What is extremely nice about this story is how well it is written. Wilson paces the story very carefully and very methodically. He forgoes action and violence, and focuses on detail and psychology - in fact, he gives an extremely deep and compelling characterization of Javier, whose confidence has been shattered by his recent divorce - particularly when he discovers that his ex is now seeing someone else.

An effective device is deployed in this book - a diary kept by Javier's father, which tracks the father's progression from soldier to pirate to painter. Diary entries are interspersed with the story and begin fleshing out details of Javier's past and his father's life. Effectively, Wilson has written a compelling story within a story - the author explains that mid-way through the book he realized that he needed a diary to work from, so he spent several months writing the father's diary before returning to the main book.

This is the first book I've read of Wilson's, but it won't be the last. I've already ordered the sequel to this novel. Mysteries are a dime a dozen, and most are mediocre. Wilson proves himself to be top-notch - you haven't read a real mystery until you've read The Blind Man of Seville. ( )
  jpporter | Nov 16, 2015 |
The first time I heard of the Javier Falcón books was when the first was dramatized on TV, and unfortunately I missed it. So it was with anticipation that I turned to the first of the four books, The Blind Man of Seville. My first impression was that it was the longest detective book I’d read in a while, but the reason for this soon became apparent: the back story in Tangiers. In a note at the back of the book, Wilson directs his readers to the full-length diaries he wrote for Francisco Falcón, Javier’s late father, artist, Tangiers resident and key character in ‘The Blind Man of Seville’.
It is a complicated novel, entangling the Spanish legal system, bullfighting, the worlds of art and restaurants, Seville, Tangiers and the theme which lurks just below the surface of everyday Spain: the Spanish Civil War. There is something about the first murder which slowly tips Inspector Falcón towards mental breakdown. Like all detectives, the interest lies in his frailties, how he overcomes them and manages to do the day job, how he outwits the criminal mind.
Francisco’s diaries are fascinating; an insight into the Spanish Legion, its time in Morocco and Russia, the brutality and hardships, the sense of brotherhood. The diaries in their entirety are available to read at Robert Wilson’s website, here, but do not read them until you have finished the book. At times as Javier reads his father’s story, the story churns his guts; mine too. Anyone who has read anything about the Civil War will anticipate some of the brutality. Wilson skilfully weaves this storyline into the modern day hunt for a murderer.
This is far from a formulaic detective story. Wilson writes about heavy subjects with a confident hand, and creates atmosphere easily. “The hotel had suffered in the intervening half-century. There was a glass panel missing from one of the doors in his room. Paint peeled off the metal windows. The furniture looked as if it had taken refuge from a violent husband. But there was a perfect view of the bay of Tangier and Falcón sat on the bed and gaped at it, while thoughts of deracination spread through his mind.”
This is the first book of a quartet about Javier Falcón.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Oct 22, 2015 |
As a mystery, it's a bit confused and non-linear in the Chandler tradition. As a thematic piece the sins of the fathers/colonial guilt angle just seems overplayed and overly literal. ( )
  ehines | May 22, 2014 |
The Blind Man of Seville is the first novel in the Inspector Javier Falcon series by author Robert Wilson. A leading restaurateur has been found bound gagged and with no eyelid. Most of the wounds are self inflicted. Falcon is called in to investigate and their seem many reasons for his death including a resentful wife or corruption. However, when more bodies start to appear Falcon realises that the killer is much closer to home and discovers that it is connected to his past, one he never knew he had.

This book was probably overly long. At nearly 700 page it sometimes became a bit of a drag to read.Read the full review here ( )
  thecrimescene | Sep 30, 2013 |
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Robert Wilsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Per Kristian GudmundsenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156028808, Paperback)

After trying his hand at spy fiction in The Company of Strangers, Robert Wilson returns to his detective-thriller roots with The Blind Man of Seville, a grimly bewitching and character-driven yarn about people confronting their most hidden horrors.

"It was only right that there should be at least one murder in Holy Week," muses Inspector Jefe Javier Falcón as he's called out during Spain's Semana Santa festivities to probe the death of a prosperous Seville restaurateur, Raúl Jiménez. The deceased was found strapped to a chair with his eyelids removed, facing a television on which had been showing a video of him entertaining prostitutes. Jiménez's heart had failed as he struggled to escape. This murder is "more extraordinary than any I have seen in my career," Falcón tells the businessman's widow, as he embarks on an investigation that will lead to the slayings of a hooker and an art dealer, and force the homicide cop into a game of wits against a killer obsessed with the contradictions between illusion and reality. Meanwhile, Falcón is himself obsessed with the long-secreted journals kept by his late father, a famous painter, whose brutal acts during the Spanish Civil War and subsequent hedonism in North Africa shaped Javier's life... and will make him the killer's next target.

Wilson's plot turns rather creakily on the coincidence of Falcón discovering a photograph of his father among Jiménez's things. And lengthy excerpts from the elder Falcón's diaries, while they reveal links between the book's secondary players, and are interesting for their portrayal of wartime Europe and postwar Tangier, nonetheless hobble this story's pace and distract from the modern crimes at its center. Still, there's a poetic edge to this author's prose that makes even his most gruesome or tragic scenes worthy of rereading, and in Javier Falcón--a lonely outsider who shadows his ex-wife and has a perplexing aversion to milk--he creates a police protagonist as satisfyingly and humanly flawed as any since Zé Coelho, from Wilson's outstanding A Small Death in Lisbon. --J. Kingston Pierce

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:28 -0400)

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Spanish thriller.

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