The Prisoner of Heaven (Zafon)

The first book in this trilogy, The Shadow of the Wind, came out of nowhere and was such an incredible surprise. The labyrinthian nature of the plot matched Zafon’s sentences and his description of the city he so clearly cherishes, Barcelona. The writing was dense and the atmosphere thick. I loved it and recommended it often. I picked up The Angel’s Game as soon as it came out in hardback. I found it disappointing, a kind of re-tread. The writing is still there, but the zest, the originality, the historical commentary – they’d all lost their edge. So The Prisoner of Heaven waited until it was in paperback. As with many third books, it has to finish some stories, to tie up some loose ends. In this way, it succeeds. But  this is a tale, a yarn even, well-told, but signifying. . .

I know little about Franco and Spain during the war. Is there more here than I can glean? Perhaps.

We’ll see what Zafon turns to next. A book like this, a good book, is still better than most people’s most ambitious efforts. It’s no accident that the plot, in at least two ways, pays tribute to The Count of Monte Cristo.

So this, unlike the overrated The Girl. . . trio, is a trilogy worth finishing. Zafon can tell a good old-fashioned story. And credit once again should go to Lucia Graves for another fluid and lively translation.


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