The story is set in the 1920s and opens with the main character, David Martin, getting a chance of a lifetime to write a story for a well known newspaper in Barcelona, Spain. David doesn't last long at the paper and soon goes to work writing horror novels under a pseudonym for a small press with a questionable reputation. He rents an old abandoned house and devotes his days and nights to his work, churning out novel after novel that the critics denounce as sensationalism. He continues to work but soon becomes obsessed with the history of the house he lives in and the mysterious circumstances of the previous tenant's death. He soon gets an offer from a enigmatic French publisher to write a great work that will transform those who read it. But things are not as they seem when David discovers the haunting connections between the strange history of the house and the book he is commisioned to write.
This story is amazing. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is amazing! (BTW I've also read/listened to The Shadow of the Wind) The performance of the narrator, Dan Stevens, was incredible. The prose is so musical that I found myself writing down lines that struck a cord inside me. One of my very favorite lines is this ...
"He is a good man, but he drowns in a glass of water."
The meaning of the line has many possible interpretations but the sound of this line is just beautiful. Another one is...
"Every book has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and dream with it."
When I think about the above lines I remember the book When you Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. It's no surprise to me that this wonderful book won the 2010 Newbery because when you read it, you will discover its soul.
Enough said. Now I must get back to writing my book and do what David Martin advised a budding writer to do .... To sit with my hands poised above the keyboard, squeeze my brain until it hurts and see what comes out ... ;)