I must say, I always lacked arms. Two arms, mine, it’s empty. I need another two around me.
“Gros-Câlin” – “Big-Hug” is the first book published by Romain Gary under the pseudonym Emile Ajar.
It’s the story of a 37 year old statistician who adopts a python he names “Big-Hug” and decides to write a treatise on living with such an exotic and unusual animal in a Parisian flat.
What I liked: So many things…
First of all: the surprise. I bought this book with no other recommendation that the name of the author. The fact that “Big-Hug” is actually python took me by surprise and hooked me instantly.
Second of all because the story is just a pretext. What the book is really about is solitude and the need of affection.
And last of all – but not the least- because it is that kind of book that re-reading will reveal it even more and bring to light depths that first reading kept hidden.
Bottom line: It’s a book that spoke to me and of me. So personal and touching at a level that very few books have been. If you ever felt a misfit and a loner in a world that is so big and moving too fast, you should read this book.
“Every book has a soul, the soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and dream about it.”
Storyline: Part of the trilogy Zafón wrote around the “Cemetery of forgotten books”, this novel tells the story of a young writer who sells his soul for the fulfillment of all his “Great Expectations”.
Rough childhood, no bright future to wait for, just a few friends and an undeniable talent for writing, Martin signs a deal with an obscure and strange editor to write a book like no other.
It’s a story about fighting our inner demons and dark side. And, above all, about the fear of dying and love that cannot die.
What I liked: I enjoyed the writing, the way the story unfolded and kept me hooked.
And I loved the fact that Barcelona – la ciudad de los malditos – is a main character and not only a mere setting of the novel.
What I loved less: Too much death. But isn’t just like real life?
Bottom line: Loved it and will purchase the first book of the trilogy that I have yet to read. And I plan to buy it in Barcelona in May…My way of honouring the city which is a main character in Zafón’s books.
Storyline : A crippled old man lives alone in a small room in a communal apartment in the communist Russia of the 50’s. The nail he founds one day in his shoe is the pretext for a requiem of his youth and his young self, barely out of adolescence.
The story alternates between the present with the challenges and adventures of his old days and the adolescent becoming a man.
What I liked : The novel is beautifully written, alternating perspectives in a chaotic and delicious manner. The paragraphs are small, as measures of the distinct, atomic moments that make up our lives. The voices of young and old Fiodor alternate in a sort of a dialogue that abolishes time.
Bottom line: It’s funny and serious, ironic and nonjudgmental. And I loved it!