I finished reading “The Angel’s Game” (by Carlos Ruiz Zafon) a couple of days ago, and have been pondering about the ending and the way that the story played out … and I’m still kind of confused. I tried to Google reviews and summaries and stuff, but to no avail – everyone seems just as bewildered. Although, to be fair, I didn’t really try very hard to find deconstructions, etc. I finished the book at night and was kind of tired.
But all that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the novel. I will admit that I was a bit apprehensive about reading a translated text (the original is in Spanish), as I thought it might lose some of the deeper meaning, magic and emotion. But it was fine. The edition I read (which was translated by Lucia Graves – not sure if there are other translations out there? probably not…?) was so well written. I wouldn’t go as far as one reviewer and say that it read as if it was originally in English, but it was pretty good, and exceeded my expectations.
For a novel that I didn’t find mindblowing or life-changing, I feel like I could write a lot about it – mostly positive, too. It was really different to anything I’ve ever read before (or remember reading, anyway). While there are certain genres and authors I’d probably never tire of, it’s always refreshing to read something that’s just different – the storyline, the characters, the setting, the language. It was all kind of inspiring in a way.
I liked that the novel was about an author. Can’t say that I’ve read many novels about authors, although I’m sure there must be a fair number of them out there. Amongst all the rhetoric and fanciful speeches and whatnot, one of my favourite quotes from “The Angel’s Game” was from Andreas Corelli – something along the lines of “You may think that you understand the lyrics to a song, but it’s the music that makes you believe it.”
Despite how well the novel was written/translated (I still reckon it probably sounds/reads better in Spanish – but that’s beside the point), I did feel like the story was a bit slow at parts – mostly around the middle. And there were a lot of random side characters. Well, ok, all of the characters played some part, but it was a bit hard to keep track of them all. (Not sure if that was affected by how I read it in between/amongst other books and whatnot… Might have been better if I’d managed to read it in a more consistent fashion over a shorter space of time, but it’s too late for that.)
The story did start to pick up some serious pace in the third and final act, though. I’d say it was actually quite thrilling. The ending was still a bit bizarre. I’m not sure that I fully understand it, but it’s not something that I’m losing sleep over either.
All in all, I did enjoy reading “The Angel’s Game”. I probably wouldn’t widely recommend it, but I reckon that if you’ve got a passion for reading and/or writing, it’ll most likely be a worthwhile read.