A boy decides to become a writer when he discovers that his creative gifts capture the attentions of an aloof young beauty who has stolen his heart. A labyrinth-maker flees Constantinople to a plague-ridden Barcelona, with plans for building a library impervious to the destruction of time. A strange gentleman tempts Cervantes to write a book like no other, each page of which could prolong the life of the woman he loves. And a brilliant Catalan architect named Antoni Gaudí reluctantly agrees to cross the ocean to New York, a voyage that will determine the fate of an unfinished masterpiece.
Imaginative and beguiling, these and other stories in The City of Mist bring to life the mesmerising magic of their brilliant creator and invite us to enter the dream along with him.
Comment: This was one of the books I brought from the library the last time I went there. I'm still hoping they will be able to acquire the 4th installment of the wonderful series this author became famous for, but in the meantime, there is this books of short stories, with some of his remaining work which had not been published before.
This book has a collection of 11 little stories, all set in Barcelona, and all somehow related to the cemetery of forgotten books. Sometimes the connection isn't obvious or that important, but it does feel like a little candy hidden somewhere for the reader to find.
As always, some stories had bigger impact than others, one or two were just two or three pages long, and through all of them we have the familiar author's style, especially when it comes to prose and whimsical little features. I've read some readers comment this is better appreciated if one had read the other books by the author, for this will feel like a treat, even the ones we might not like as much. For a new reader, perhaps the short length might help to give an idea but in my opinion, it's true mr Zafón was a very special writer and perhaps this might not be the best way to truly captivate someone not used to his style.
I'd say what I will remember the most about these 11 short stories is how much sadness all of them convey. The purpose is certainly to give a certain vibe and some stories are quite obvious magical realism, and not as much historical fiction, but in all of them we have the drama of impossible happy ends and the sadness of what could have been. It's also a little bit of a love story with the city of Barcelona, so dear to the author, and always cherished in his work.
Here is a list of the short stories and a small comment on each one of them: