Another one from the Stanford’s book haul, out of eight I already read six books (two more review will be coming up), so I promise not much more left. It is also another book I bought in preparation for my Spanish vacation in September, as is quite obvious from the title one of the cities we’re planning to visit is Seville.
This book is a pretty dark and brutal thriller, it starts with a gruesome murder and really continues in this menacing way. Our detective this time is Javier Falcon, as soon as he sees the victim something in his mind shifts. It is as much a story of a murder investigation as one of a gradual personality dissolution and emotional breakdown. The case forces Falcon to face his own past, but most of all to examine the relationship with his dead father. Wilson has done a really good job in describing physical symptoms of the nervous breakdown, we can see Falcon’s condition deteriorating throughout the book as his mind has to face more and more complex challenges and face the fact that his whole life and world perception may be based on a lie that he didn’t want to see. Falcon’s investigation is interspersed with excerpts from his father’s diary, that weave in another horrible tale of all the cruelty in WWII and Spanish Civil War, something that I feel often is on purpose not remembered, especially in the case of Spanish Civil War, we are used to going to Spain for vacation and everyone happily glosses over this tragic part of the country’s history.
Going back to the book, I didn’t really like it that much. The characters were sketchy, Wilson did delve into Falcon’s breakdown, but other than that his character is drafted only with few broad strokes. Other characters are even less developed, they are more types or forms. As for the story I found Falcon’s father story really interesting, if quite brutal, but the overall plot does not really make sense, it really is not credible. The language grated on me from the very beginning, it is very dramatic with lots of metaphors, just too elaborate for the genre of the book. Overall I really will not recommend this one, but I have to admit I lasted to the end, so it cannot be all that horrible.
One interesting thing was the description of Feria de Abril, I would really love to see it one day (except for the bull fighting, of course). Here are a few pictures that I found online.