This is one of the most interesting, fascinating and thought provoking books I’ve read in quite a while. I still don’t feel I fully understand it all and am sure there are many subtle meanings in it that I have missed. It is a complex book with many odd things and mysterious happenings and lots of sub plots, many of which don’t seem to be fully explained, and I found it difficult to keep track of everything, but thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and was loath to put the book down. I am left with the impression that it is a very clever and involved book, part supernatural, part thriller, part detective story, and several other parts too.
It is about David Martin who lives in an old abandoned house writing books, and who is intrigued by the past occupant of his house. Strange things begin to happen to him, seemingly orchestrated by a mysterious man called Corelli, and he visits places that he later learns have been long destroyed, and people that thwart him seem to suddenly and conveniently end up dead soon after. David then realises he is in danger himself, but is unsure of where the danger comes from.
I found I was frantically trying to remember every character and situation while reading the book, feeling that they were all probably relevant in some way, and yet the book is so involved and complicated that it is difficult to keep track of it all.
I loved the descriptions of Barcelona as well, the city almost seems to be a character in its own right, and it is easy to imagine these mysterious goings on, and secrets laying undiscovered for decades in a city full of such history and grandeur and a mix of huge beautiful structures and dark little alleys.
I do have many unanswered questions about this book, so I am going to list them below in the hope that someone may be able to enlighten me. But inevitably these will give away parts of the book, so don’t read on unless you’ve read the book first. I do find this an incredible book, however, in the way that I have devoted so much time to pondering the themes in it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It is a very powerful book
Who is Corelli (David’s boss)? Is he supposed to be someone like the Devil? Is his idea for a new religion one that follows the Devil rather than God? Is this how he can be everywhere and seemingly jump through time to be in places that have actually burnt down, and not age himself, because he is the Devil?
I also wondered if possibly Corelli and David were actually one and the same person, like another personality of David’s that he himself doesn’t know exists, like a schizophrenic type thing? I wonder this because all the people that David would desire out of the way or who seem to thwart him, end up dying, usually shortly after David has visited them. Even down to the death of Cristina – was it because she was going to burn his manuscript that his split personality came out to stop her? And Inspector Grandes says at the end of the book that he notices that David always wears an angel brooch – Corelli always wears an angel brooch, David comments on it time and time again. So is David and Corelli one and the same person? And both David and Corelli do not age, another similarity between them.
What does the non-aging mean, is there something symbolic in this? I’ve searched on the internet for references to this but can’t come up with anything.
Are these places David visits actually real? The brothel that he then finds out has burnt down many years ago, the publishing house that Corelli supposedly owns but which has actually been closed down and suffered a fire many years ago, Corelli’s home that the taxi driver said he thought was empty and when David visits uninvited is covered in dust. Do these places appear and disappear at Corelli’s command because he is some magical/devil type figure, or are they all just figments of David’s imagination?
I was intrigued by the six pointed star that Irene Sabino carves on David’s chest – what does this symbolise? I thought it was something to do with Jewism and checked on Wikipedia and it is the Star of David, so as his name is David is this the vague link? Wikipedia also says the six pointed star represents the occult, so I wonder if this is the connection rather than the Jewism. Then I had another thought – the end of the book jumps to 1945 and I wondered if Corelli and David’s new religion was actually supposed to have brought about/influenced the war? And then the six pointed star could perhaps mean Jewism and the persecution of the Jews during the war? Or perhaps I’m just getting too deep and involved here?
I also wondered about why it has taken Marlasca so long to come back through the secret passageway into David’s house and, apparently, kill all those people? Wasn’t it something like 25 years ago that Marlasca was presumed to have died – why all this time to get his revenge? And if Corelli employed Marlasca to write a new religion, as he is now employing David to do, then why has he (Corelli) waited 25 years to select another person to write it for him?
How did David choose the tower house to live in, was it just randomly? Yet it’s the house that Marlasca lived in before who apparently had had connections to Corelli.
How is David’s terminal illness (was it a brain tumour?) made to disappear?
Who is the Witch of Somorrostro and what relevance does she have?
Are many of the earlier details in the book actually relevant to later plots in the book, do they have subtle hidden meanings that I missed? Such as 1) David writing for the 2 publishers, Barrido and Escobillas, under the name of Ignatius B Samson, 2) Pedro Vidal admitting that the shots that killed David’s father were actually meant for him, 3) The history of David’s mother abandoning him, and him later trying to give his novel to her which she discards in a bin.
Any help gratefully received!
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