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The City of Mists
So - another March Break is over, and teachers and kids and principals and vice-principals are back at it. If you're a teacher, education worker, or administrator, or kid or parent, I hope you had the March Break you wanted.
Some of you, I know, travelled to warmer climes and relaxed beach side or pool side - recharging your batteries for the next three months of the school year. Some of you used my book to help you along. Thank you and you're welcome!
In my last blog post, I mentioned that I would be reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The City of Mist and I'd be offering up a review for you.
It's a short little book of eleven short stories at 162 pages. It was intended to be published after Zafon's death, so much of it was written by a Zafon who knew that he was dying, and wanted to tie up some loose strings created by the world of The Shadow of the Wind, the first (and best) in a series of books called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.
It was a bittersweet read, in the way that any last book by a favourite author would be. The stories are uneven, some far too brief, and maybe, if Zafon had recovered from the cancer that killed him, would have been fleshed out into other novels that we'll never have the chance to read, which made reading them even more bittersweet. But "Rose of Fire" offers up an origin fable for the Cemetery of Forgotten Books itself, and it is wonderful, although suspension of disbelief is essential to its appreciation: a story of dragons and roses told by an inmate in prison to his fellow inmates. It's followed by "The Prince of Parnassus," which creates a myth about Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, and perhaps, the inventor of the novel. This myth connects Cervantes and his books to the characters and books of Zafon and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. It, too, is a wonderful read - but - I almost hate writing this - in order to appreciate this story and, really, all the other stories in this little book, I think you have to have read The Shadow of the Wind, which will make you want to read The Angel's Game, The Prisoner of Heaven, and The Labyrinth of the Spirits, before picking it up.
If you're the first person to comment on this review, you live in Windsor, and you haven't read Shadow, I'm happy to loan it to you. In advance, "You're welcome."
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