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The Angel's Game (2008)

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,733416930 (3.69)436
Fiction. Literature. Thriller. HTML:From the author of the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, comes a riveting masterpiece about love, literature, and betrayal.
 
In this powerful, labyrinthian thriller, David Martín is a pulp fiction writer struggling to stay afloat. Holed up in a haunting abandoned mansion in the heart of Barcelona, he furiously taps out story after story, becoming increasingly desperate and frustrated. Thus, when he is approached by a mysterious publisher offering a book deal that seems almost too good to be real, David leaps at the chance. But as he begins the work, and after a visit to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, he realizes that there is a connection between his book and the shadows that surround his dilapidated home and that the publisher may be hiding a few troubling secrets of his own. Once again, Ruiz Zafón takes us into a dark, gothic Barcelona and creates a breathtaking tale of intrigue, romance, and trag… (more)
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» See also 436 mentions

English (342)  Spanish (21)  Dutch (17)  Italian (9)  German (8)  French (7)  Catalan (3)  Norwegian (3)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (417)
Showing 1-5 of 342 (next | show all)
3.5 stars
Not as solid as Shadow of the Wind; meanders a bit too melodramatically in the 2nd act, but the magic-realism of the 3rd act redeemed the book. Recommended. ( )
  SESchend | Feb 2, 2024 |
Mehhh, the misogyny and general disinterest of Zafon to write female characters wore on me here. Also the unresolved plot lines bugged me. David was an asshole and it was hard to like much about it, especially when the mysteries weren't really solved. However, I read that the next book is illuminating so I started it right away, showing an interest in the world and story in general. This reader wasn't as good as Jonathon Davis, but still managed a whole range of good voices. ( )
  barrettlucero | Jan 2, 2024 |
A lush and savory exercise in gothic horror set in 1950s Spain, about a preternaturally gifted young writer of gothic serial fiction - cynical but likeable - who may or may not have made a deal with a devil to trade his soul for health and financial security.

All the mandatory gothic tropes are here: there's a creepy house with secrets concealed in the walls, a suave devil, tragic lives, gruesome deaths, weird tomes, supernatural occurrences, graveyards, thunderstorms, insane asylums, rotting corpses, and a bang-up finale in which the bodies pile up like the last act of a Shakespeare tragedy. And, this being Carlos Ruiz Zafon, you can be sure there's tons of deliciously gothic and expertly rendered atmosphere, from the sinister edifices and twisting alleyways of Barcelona's old town to the cast of colorful characters our protagonist meets along the way - crusty newspaper editors, self-loathing aristocrats, fatherly book store owners, tormented ingenues, villainous police officers, cunning conmen, creepy witches, murderous madwomen, and suave devils. The action never flags as our unlucky protagonist catapults from one misadventure to the next, all infused with just enough ambiguity that can never be sure which bits are "real" and which bits the products of his tormented imagination. Yes, the plot (especially the ending) is a bit of a muddle, but feel like it's unfair to expect gothic fiction to make sense ... the goal of the genre is to create a pall of inescapable dread, and this Zafon achieves with panache.

Nothing I'm likely to remember for very long, but capably written and satisfyingly creepy. ( )
  Dorritt | Dec 28, 2023 |
Wow, well I don't know exactly what all to say on this one. It definitely messed with my mind---I'm still not totally sure I completely comprehend everything I just read...especially the "little girl twist" at the end. I still think Zafon is definitely a genius...but there was a LOT going on in this book and I've come away feeling pretty confused. ( )
  classyhomemaker | Dec 11, 2023 |
Melodramatic and grisly, it lacks much of the grace (and sense) of Shadow of the Wind while stealing many of its subplots. ( )
  emmby | Oct 4, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 342 (next | show all)
The result is a twisty, sarcastic ode to books, with a satisfying dollop of religious theory thrown in for good measure. On its surface, "The Angel's Game" is a thriller laden with Gothic elements, but readers who need a traditional denouement with answers neatly laid out will come away disappointed. (I definitely had a little moment of "Wait! What? Huh???" at the end.)

But while the plot payoff may not be what readers are expecting, the novel itself is such a pleasure to read that the characters could have ended with a rendition of "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow," played on cowbells and a zither, and I would have shrugged it off.
added by sduff222 | editThe Christian Science Monitor, Yvonne Zipp (Jul 11, 2009)
 
“Faust” this isn’t. Ruiz Zafón’s flamboyant pulp epic is something altogether sillier, a pact-with-the-devil tale whose only purpose is to give its readers some small intimation of the darker pleasures of the literary arts, the weird thrill of storytelling without conscience.
 
Game is a multi-layered confection that combines undying love, magical realism, meditations on religion, the importance of books and a love affair with the vibrant city of Barcelona.

Zafon hits the reset button on what it means to be a great writer. His visionary storytelling prowess is a genre unto itself.
added by sduff222 | editUSA Today, Carol Memmott (Jun 16, 2009)
 
While much of this novel is highly enjoyable, at some latter point the tongue withdraws from the cheek. In wrapping up a host of absurd sub-plots, somewhere in there the writer loses his sense of humour. When the book ceases to be self-conscious about its own manipulations, it stops being fun. This won’t bother some readers; some will happily dive into the mysticism up to the neck. But others will miss the drollery and sophistication with which the novel began, and for these readers Zafón’s straight resolution will disappoint.
 
Zafon delivers a warning about the dangers of obsession, mixed with an obvious passion for literature and the printed word; his book is also a song of love for Barcelona with all its creaking floorboards and hidden subbasements.

A nice fit with the current craze for learned mysteries and for spooks of both the spying and the spectral kind.
added by sduff222 | editKirkus Reviews (Jun 1, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ruiz Zafón, Carlosprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arpaia, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blank, YvonneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geel, NellekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, LuciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Härkönen, TarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hristova, SvetlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Partanen, AnuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rivela, FranciscoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwaar, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For MariCarmen, «a nation of two»
First words
A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story.
Quotations
It is part of our nature to survive. Faith is an instinctive response to aspects of existence that we cannot explain by any other means, be it the moral void we perceive in the universe, the certainty of death, the mystery of the origin of things, the meanings of our lives, or the absence of meaning. These are the basic and extremely simple aspects of existence, but our limitations prevent us from responding in an unequivocal way and for that reason we generate an emotional response, as a defense mechanism. It's pure biology.
An intellectual is usually someone who isn't exactly distinguished by his intellect. He claims that label to compensate for his inadequacies. It's as old as that saying: Tell me what you boast of and I'll tell you what you lack. Our daily bread. The incompetent always present themselves as experts, the cruel as pious, sinners as devout, usurers as benefactors, the small-minded as the patriots, the arrogant as the humble, the vulgar as elegant, and the feeble-minded as intellectual.
I'm staying here to read. Life's too short.
Silence makes even idiots seem wise for a minute.
Most people, as they grow old, continue to believe in nonsense, usually even greater nonsense. I swim against the tide because I like to annoy.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Literature. Thriller. HTML:From the author of the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, comes a riveting masterpiece about love, literature, and betrayal.
 
In this powerful, labyrinthian thriller, David Martín is a pulp fiction writer struggling to stay afloat. Holed up in a haunting abandoned mansion in the heart of Barcelona, he furiously taps out story after story, becoming increasingly desperate and frustrated. Thus, when he is approached by a mysterious publisher offering a book deal that seems almost too good to be real, David leaps at the chance. But as he begins the work, and after a visit to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, he realizes that there is a connection between his book and the shadows that surround his dilapidated home and that the publisher may be hiding a few troubling secrets of his own. Once again, Ruiz Zafón takes us into a dark, gothic Barcelona and creates a breathtaking tale of intrigue, romance, and trag

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Book description
Na Barcelona turbulenta dos anos 20, um jovem escritor obcecado com um amor impossível recebe de um misterioso editor a proposta para escrever um livro como nunca existiu a troco de uma fortuna e, talvez, muito mais. Com deslumbrante estilo e impecável precisão narrativa, o autor de A Sombra do Vento transporta-nos de novo para a Barcelona do Cemitério dos Livros Esquecidos, para nos oferecer uma aventura de intriga, romance e tragédia, através de um labirinto de segredos onde o fascínio pelos livros, a paixão e a amizade se conjugam num relato magistral.
(Bullhosa books & living)
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921520523, 1921656719

 

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