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The Labyrinth of the Spirits

The Labyrinth of the Spirits

The death of the bookseller Daniel's mother plagues him and a sinister conspiracy is discovered.  Alicia appears and gradually a secret history is revealed through plots and subplots.  The horrors in Franco's Spain figure.  Zafon's book displays a homage to the art of writing.

This book divided the group somewhat.  Of the eight members present, three read to the end, three got half way and two did not start reading it. 

One member gave a clear and strong description of how she felt:-  Zafon's 'Shadow of the Wind' was much enjoyed but this one, 'Labyrinth', though well written, was confusing.  It is clear that the author loves books and words and enjoys writing but maybe went on for too long. (Others agreed with this point.)  The characters were well developed and descriptions good.  Long stretches of time needed to be devoted to the reading.  She expressed deep concern about the horrific times in Franco's Spain-the torture, violence, killing and corruption.  Reading how the regime operated was not comfortable.  She concluded that she sort of enjoyed it and was glad she had read it.

Another member, having finished reading the book late the night before, had not had time to evaluate it and form an opinion so did not know if she liked it or not but thought it unnecessarily long with too many characters at the beginning.  This point caused another member to keep flipping back to help identify who all these people were.

Those that did not finish the book offered reasons like -'too confusing, too many characters, could not 'get into' the story, did not like the horror, too verbose, and one thought that, by half way, the conspiracy was going to be all gone into again.

It was felt that we could not easily recommend this book to others.

Review by Ruth Westley