I will not let another day escape me, this I vow as I finally turn off the light and turn my back on the world I have inhabited since early morning. The world of Carlos Luis Zafón begs me to stay, even as the clock inches its way toward midnight, but I must go, a Cinderella scurrying down stairs toward necessary sleep.
I am reading the last in Zafón’s cycle of novels set in the Cemetery of Lost Books. I read the first one The Shadow of the Wind shortly after it was published in 2005. Have you ever had the experience of talking with a good friend, and fellow book-lover, after time away to discover that you have both just finished—and loved—the same book. In that moment, parallel lives intersect and it’s magic! I was reeling still from Shadow when I spoke with Maria only to discover that she too was still wandering the corridors of the Cemetery, pondering with Daniel Sempere the symbiotic relationship of literature and life.
Lengthy novels cast a different spell than their shorter counterparts, and novels as richly layered as these must be savored…but I want to make headway, too! Generally a fast reader, I can be overwhelmed when at 400 pages in, I haven’t yet hit the halfway point. When yesterday offered the kind of gray, weepy sky that has given the Oregon Coast its reputation, I ignored the clarion call of my swimming routine, walking the dog, baking bread—everything took a back seat to reading my novel. (Notice the proprietary shift? That’s what happens with a book of this stature.)
I did sleep, awakening at about 2:15 am, seriously considered returning to Barcelona, Spain, 1959, but fortunately denied that impulse. Now it’s a new day; the sky has cleared, the soft-edged half moon shining. Labyrinth of the Spirits sits, marked at page 573, awaiting my return. That’s actually what prompted me to finish this “slice,” one of the criteria I set. I am usually disciplined.
I’m off to the pool as soon as I post this. Maybe I’ll sneak in a chapter or two when I get home, before a scheduled ZOOM get-together with my good friend Maria, East-meets-West. We always have a lot to say after a month away. I wonder what she’s reading…