Sorry. After all this, I still didn't get around to reviewing THE ANGEL'S GAME proper. But first I have to issue a caution. My wife, in all her cautious concern, frequently reminds me that at times I can become overly dramatic about certain things. Considering the fact that I once directed plays many years ago, this insight may have a truthful ring.
With this said, I want to revisit my emotionally-charged sunny afternoon when I had just finished reading THE ANGEL'S GAME while gladly guzzling two bottles of sauvignon blanc listening at high volume to The Talking Heads. This resulted in what I described as a certain summer madness---Am I now becoming "overly dramatic" I wonder? I say this because after much thought I came to realize that this behaviour was more than likely the result of the book, and not the wine.
When I like a book, or at least am intrigued with it, I get fully into it. I absorb the atmosphere, and get lost in the scenery and characters. I think I certainly got lost in THE ANGEL'S GAME, and it carried over and hung with me for quite a time afterwards. This is good literature. It's odd in that it seems to have a straight forward plot and story line which appeals to any reader, I suppose. But---like all of reality---it has strange and unexplained occurrences which makes you think that all is not what it seems. This can be quite disturbing. It was especially disturbing that hot afternoon.
It's mostly a love story with a detective element thrown in. It is quite violent in it's descriptions of the fights that ensue, but overall there is this underlying ghostly, evil presence throughout the story. There is also this hint of unreality which becomes unsettling as you read on. This is a good novel.
By the way, the author has the best definition for religion I have ever read. It's on page 145.
I believe now that I should have read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's novel THE SHADOW OF THE WIND first. I plan to do so now. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is from Spain and an international acclaimed--and much loved---author. The English novel is a translation, of course, so you occasionally get some odd and strangely worded phrases. But otherwise the writing just flows.
Oh! I have to tell you this. My wife started to read THE ANGEL'S GAME last week. She came to me with the book open and a quizzical look in her eyes. The conversation went this way:
Wife: Did you read this?
Bernie: Yes. I finished it awhile ago.
W: I know! But did you read this passage?(points it out in book)
B: Oh yes.
W: Well. What exactly does it mean?
B: That's the question. Right?
W: What question?
B: Right! Now you're getting it.
W: (She looks at me in silence for quite a few seconds)Uh huh. ( she walks away)
We recently picked up a few really good books from a friend's book sale. I half expected my wife to give THE ANGEL'S GAME up and start to read one of the new novels, but she said that she's really into this book right now, and can't give it up. Uh huh.
THE STRAIN by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. I'm reading this novel now, but I don't think I'll continue. It's a straight forward plot-heavy story of vampires arriving in New York---by plane. It reads like a low budget TV movie brought to you by McDonald's and Crest toothpaste. The characters are stock in all the definitions of this word, and their problems are all so familiar. In a word, boring. There's no need to go any further, but if you just want a mindless summer read---nothing wrong with that---then this is the book for you.
Interesting to note: This novel actually made my wife a bit angry. I guess the ending of this novel is pretty well left open to ensure a series along the lines of the other vampire books out now. This is wilful contrivance, is it not? She was not too pleased.
Next: Back to the Sea