Excerpts from “The Angel’s Game” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I’ve been wending my way slowly through Zafón’s latest book (set in the universe as The Shadow of the Wind) the last few days, and, as per usual, I find myself floored at times by the strength of his prose. I feel the need to share a few choice tidbits from the first half of the novel.

First, my favorite passage, a description of love and passion and the idealization of relationships:

Don’t tell me you’re not a skeptic like I am and that you want to reach the marriage bed pure of heart and loins. That you’re an immaculate soul eagerly awaiting that magic moment when true love will lead you to the discovery of a joint ecstasy of flesh and inner being, blessed by the Holy Spirit, thus enabling you to populate the world with creatures who bear your family name and their mother’s eyes- that saintly woman, a paragon of virtue and modesty in whose company you will enter the doors of heaven under the benevolent gaze of the Baby Jesus.

It’s possible, and I stress possible, that such a moment may never come: you may not fall in love, you may not be able to or you may not wish to give your whole life to anyone, and, like me, you may turn forty-five one day and realize that you’re no longer young and you have never found a choir of cupids with lyres or a bed of white roses leading to the altar. The only revenge left for you then will be to steal from life the pleasure of firm and passionate flesh- a pleasure that evaporates faster than good intentions and is the nearest thing to heaven you will find in this stinking world where everything decays, beginning with beauty and ending with memory.

Next, he manages to capture my feeling on ‘intellectuals’ perfectly:

An intellectual is usually someone who isn’t exactly distinguished by his intellect. He claims that label to compensate for his inadequacies. It’s as old as that saying: Tell me what you boast of and I’ll tell you what you lack. Our daily bread. The incompetent always present themselves as experts, the cruel as pious, sinners as devout, usurers as benefactors, the small-minded as patriots, the arrogant as humble, the vulgar as elegant, and the feeble-minded as intellectual.

And finally, two short snippets on poetry and music:

Poetry is written with tears, fiction with blood, and history with invisible ink.

We think we understand a song’s lyrics, but what makes us believe them, or not, is the music.

God damn, I love this author.

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