Tag Archives: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Happy National Day, Spain!

Spain, the grandmotherland of Latino literature, celebrates one of its most important holidays Oct. 12 — Fiesta Nacional de España, or National Day. The European country has given the world one of the literature’s finest works and five Nobel Prize winners.

MiguelDeCervantesMiguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), a former soldier, wrote the most famous work in Latino literature — Don Quixote. The 1605 book tells of a man who pursues his wildest fantasies. It gave birth to a word (“quixotic”) and idiom (“tilting at windmills”). It also inspired a ballet and the musical Man of La Mancha, which became a 1972 movie and produced the classic song, “The Impossible Dream.”

LorcaFederico García Lorca (1898-1936) is known for his timeless plays, such as Blood Wedding and Yerma, and poetry that reflected such issues as politics, sexuality, women’s independence and domestic violence that his country was facing. He was later executed during the National Civil War.

José_Echegaray_y_Eizaguirre• Five men have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the most prestigious prize in the literary arts. They are playwrights José Echegaray, right, and Jacinto Benavente; poets Juan Ramón Jiménez and Vicente Aleixandre; and novelist Camilo José Cela. Twenty Spainards have won the Cervantes Prize, given to Spanish-language writers, ranging from poet Jorge Guillén (1893-1984) to its most winner, poet José Manuel Caballero Bonald.

timeinbetweencover• Contemporary Spanish writers include Maria Dueñas, author of The Time in Between; Juan Gómez-Jurado, author of The Traitor’s Emblem; Javiar Marias, author of The Infatuations; Carlos Ruíz Zafron, author of the popular Shadow of the Wind series; Javier Sierra, author of The Secret Supper and The Lady in Blue.

Sources: Biography.com, Wikipedia, Poets.org

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Nation profiles

Book review: Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s “The Prisoner of Heaven”

Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Prisoner of Heaven (Harper Collins) is a good escape about a great escape.

Daniel Sempere is a bookseller in Barcelona when, on Christmas 1957, he is visited by a stranger who has information about his friend, Fermín Romero de Torres. Fermín then is forced to reveal a secret from his past life.

He was imprisoned in the 1940s, where his cellmate, a writer named David Martín, had strange, delusional ramblings that earned him the nickname “The Prisoner of Heaven” and may have ties to Daniel.

Fermín feels trapped. He desperately wants to escape the horrendous conditions of the prison that, under the Franco dictatorship, is run by a governor with strong personal ambitions. His plan has the audacity of Andy Dufresne in Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption.

Prisoner is the third in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, following 2004’s The Shadow of the Wind and 2009’s The Angel’s Game, although you don’t have to read them in order. I haven’t read the two previous books, and I didn’t feel lost.

But I had high expectations for Heaven. Book bloggers on Twitter were buzzing about the book, apparently since Shadow is so good.

And Heaven is an entertaining book. The main characters are easy to like, and the plot kept me reading. But I was expecting more – something with the unputdownable pace and intrigue of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. (Don’t roll your eyes. I know it’s lowbrow, but that book is awesome.)

Heaven doesn’t reach that high of a level, but it’s still a good read.

More about Carlos Ruiz Zafón:

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is the author of six weeks, including several young adult novels. He lives in Barcelona and Los Angeles.

Source: I purchased this book through Amazon.com.

1 Comment

Filed under 2012 Books, Book Reviews, Fiction

In the news: New books, awards and news from Vargas Llosa, Díaz, Cisneros

It’s July! The month offers plenty of intriguing books to keep you cool during the hot summer days:

Just released: Choke by Diana López, editor of the Huizache literary magazine, features middle school students caught in a dangerous choking game so they can become “breath sisters.” The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir by Domingo Martinez examines the author’s childhood in the Rio Grande Valley. In the novel The Frost on His Shoulders by Spanish author Lorenzo Mediano, a teacher in 1930s looks back on a romance that ripped a small town in the Pyrenees Mountains.

July 10: Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Prisoner of Heaven, the third in his Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, follows a newlywed couple who must go back in time to 1940s Barcelona to uncover a terrible secret.

July 17: Joy Castro’s Hell or High Water features newspaper reporter Nola Céspedes investigating the world of violent predators in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. Gwedolyn Zepeda writes about single mother facing a family crisis in Better with You Here.

Awards:

Héctor Tobar’s The Barbarian Nurseries won the California Book Award in the Fiction category.

Winners in the ForeWord Book of the Year, which honor independently published books, include Sergio Troncoso’s From This Wicked Patch of Dust, honorable mention, Multicultural Adult Fiction category, and Crossing Borders: Personal Essays, bronze, Essays; Lyn DiIorio’s Outside the Bones, second place, Literary Fiction; Blas Falconer and Lorraine M. López, editors of The Other Latin@, honorable mention, Adult Non-Fiction Anthologies; and Emerita Romero-Anderson, Milagro of the Spanish Bean Pot, Bronze, Juvenile Fiction.

Other news:

The Guardian profiled Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, right, whose newest book is The Dream of the Celt.

Gabriel García Marquez, 85, is reportedly suffering from dementia, according to this Huffington Post article.

• A film version of the late Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz is in the works, reports the Word and Film website.

César Chávez’s The Words of César Chávez is the lone book by a Hispanic to make the Library of Congress exhibit, The Books That Shaped America.

• Here’s a video of Junot Díaz talking about his new book, This Is How You Lose Her, at last month’s Book Expo America. He also discussed the role of race in his writings to The Boston Review.

Luis Alberto Urrea talked about immigration to NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

 • Woo hoo! Sandra Cisneros has a new book – Have You Seen Marie? – coming out Oct. 2.

6 Comments

Filed under 2012 Books, Awards, News