Tag: Books: Spanish Literature

Review: The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes

Posted 25 July, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes
By: Anonymous
Format/Source: eBook

Spain has produced two books that changed world literature: Don Quixote and Lazarillo de Tormes, the first picaresque novel ever written and the inspired precursor to works as various as Vanity Fair and Huckleberry Finn. Banned by the Spanish Inquisition after publication in 1554, Lazarillo was soon translated throughout Europe, where it was widely copied. The book is a favorite to this day for its vigorous colloquial style and the earthy realism with which it exposes human hypocrisy.

The bastard son of a prostitute, Lazarillo goes to work for a blind beggar, who beats and starves him, while teaching him some very useful dirty tricks. The boy then drifts in and out of the service of a succession of masters, each vividly sketched and together revealing the corrupt world of imperial Spain. Its miseries are made all the more apparent by the candor and surprising good cheer with which young Lazarillo recounts his ever more curious fate.

The author of Lazarillo de Tormes is unknown.

I added this book to my wishlist sometime last year after going through the selection of titles published by the New York Review Books but it came to my attention earlier this year when another blogger read it for a reading challenge I am currently hosting. I decided to search for a copy on Gutenberg and it was only recently that I got around to reading it 🙂

This book is part of the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.

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Review: Marina

Posted 21 July, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 9 Comments

By: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

In May 1980, fifteen-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts. . . .

His story begins in the heart of old Barcelona, when he meets Marina and her father Germán Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Oscar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the fourth Sunday of each month. At 10 a.m. precisely a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman dressed in black, her face shrouded, wearing gloves, holding a single rose. She walks over to a gravestone that bears no name, only the mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings.

When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her they begin a journey that will take them to the heights of a forgotten, post-war Barcelona, a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons; and a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets.

Yeeeeeeesssss, at last I have the latest Zafon novel in my hands! I’ve been eyeing this book for so long, waiting for the publishers to translate it (to the point that I was wondering whether I should learn Spanish; it was taking so long =P). But it was finally translated and released and I pre-ordered it as soon as I saw it pop up on Chapters Indigo =P

This book is part of the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.

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Review: The Art Restorer

Posted 9 July, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Art Restorer
By: Julián Sánchez
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Open Road Integrated Media via NetGalley

In this long-awaited sequel to The Antiquarian, the discovery of an enigma concealed in the paintings of the Spanish artist Sert proves the restoration of the past to be a fascinating but deadly business

Enrique Alonso travels from his new home in Manhattan to San Sebastián, Spain, to attend the reopening of the San Telmo museum, where his ex-wife, Bety, works in public relations. There he meets American Craig Bruckner, a retired art restorer studying the museum’s collection of works by Sert—a contemporary of Picasso and Dalí who worked for the most famous billionaires of his time and whose mural American Progress graces the walls of Rockefeller Center. When Bruckner is found drowned in La Concha bay, Bety suspects foul play and Enrique agrees to help her look into the man’s death. Their investigation reveals a mystery connected with Sert’s checkered past, which provides fertile ground for the new thriller Enrique is writing, and the plot develops in parallel to his research.

Enrique and Bety’s reconstruction of the artist’s clandestine activities during World War II leads them to Paris, Barcelona, and New York, and in the process forces them to face their own past. But they are not the only ones interested in Sert’s work, and it appears there is more to his paintings than meets the eye.

I requested for this book because the premise sounded really interesting–artists, set in Spain, a mystery. I actually have The Antiquarian on my want-to-read list but was approved a copy of this novel; I’m sure it won’t be too spoilerish that I’m reading the second novel in the series first 😉

This book will be available on 8 July 2014. This book is part of the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.

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Review: The Summer of Dead Toys

Posted 27 June, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Summer of Dead Toys
By: Antonio Hill
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Under a hot Barcelona sun, a killer is feeling the heat.

When the death of a vulnerable young witness in a case of human trafficking and voodoo causes the normally calm Police Inspector Hector Salgado to beat someone up, he is moved off the project and sent instead to investigate a teenager’s fall to his death in one of Barcelona’s uptown areas. As Salgado begins to uncover the inconvenient truths behind the city’s most powerful families, two seemingly unsolvable cases are set to implode under the hot Barcelona sun.

I had read an ARC of the second book in the series, The Good Suicides (review), earlier this year and was curious to read about Inspector Salgado’s earlier case. Was pretty thrilled to get a copy of this book recently; it seemed like the perfect summer thriller to read (and thank goodness I have a few of those stocked up for this summer ;))

This book is part of the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.

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Review: Life is a Dream

Posted 26 June, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Life is a Dream
By: Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Format/Source: eBook; my copy

In the mountainous barrens of Poland, the rightful heir to the kingdom has been imprisoned since birth in an attempt by his father to thwart fate. Meanwhile, a noblewoman arrives to seek revenge against the man who deceived and forsook her love for the prospect of becoming king of Poland. Richly symbolic and metaphorical, Life Is a Dream explores the deepest mysteries of human experience.

I’ve been eyeing this book for some time now; I came across it while I was looking up some dual English-Spanish books (long story of how I’ve been meaning to slowly start teaching myself Spanish but to date haven’t gotten around to it). In the end, I really wanted to read the play so I got a copy from Gutenberg 😛

This book is part of the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.

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