Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I have spent the last few weeks immersed in a world created by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  The Prisoner of Heaven is the third book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.  As I write this I am listening to music from the book that Zafon has on his website, it is so beautiful and calming that you should listen to it while you read my book review.  Carlos Ruiz Zafon Website

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is one of my top ten favorite reads of all time. I have fond memories of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books hidden underneath Barcelona and I long to visit the place in my mind again and again. In fact when I was reading it I slept with the book under my pillow so I would dream about the world in which I was reading about.  It was truly one of my most memorable and meaningful reading experiences.

Last week I finished reading the second book in the series The Angel's Game, which really takes place in time before the Shadow of the Wind.  I reviewed it recently and you can check out the review here:  Review.  When I finished The Angel's Game, I immediately began reading The Prisoner of Heaven and while it is a book that can easily stand alone, it is a book that ties the other two books together and connects the dots.

The Prisoner of Heaven is a literature lover's dream of what a good story is.  It takes place in Barcelona, this time in 1957 at Christmas.  Daniel Sempere is all grown up and married with a child.  His father Senor Sempere, owner of the independently owned bookstore, Sempere & Son, is aging.  Three generations of the Sempere & Son are in the pages of Zafon's books.  Fermin, Daniel's best friend wants to get married but a man from his past has shown up to collect a debt and Fermin is so anxious he can't eat.  Daniel decides he must help him but first Fermin must tell him the story of his past, a past that
is too horrific to recount.

Thus Zafon takes his readers on a mysterious adventure into the life of prison under Franko's dictatorship in the 1940's.  As Daniel makes connections to his past and to his deceased mother, the reader makes connections to the other two books.  Zafon leaves a surprise for us at the end when he leaves the door open for another book and another visit to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.  Yes!

Frankly I am sad to be leaving this creative world of Zafon's and am simply begging him to write more books for me, his biggest fan.  Truly, this isn't a book review, it is a love letter to Zafon.

The Cemetery of Forgotten Books trilogy is majestic, gothic, dark, romantic and all kinds of cool adjectives.  Enter this enchanting world, if you dare.  Frankly I don't know how you could resist.

"In my experience, whenever someone discovered that place (the cemetery of forgotten books), Their reaction was always one of bewitchment and amazement.  The beauty and the mystery of the premises reduced the visitor to a silent, dream-like contemplation.  Naturally, Fermin had to be different.  He spent the first half hour hypnotized, wandering like a man possessed through every nook and cranny of the large jigsaw formed by the winding labyrinth of books" pg.265