Welcome back to another week of Reading Europe! We’re kicking off this week’s list of our favourite European writers with Kerry Drewery, YA author of upcoming thriller Cell 7. She tells us why reading one of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s novels led to an exploration of his complete back catalogue.
One of my favourite modern European authors is Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafon. His adult novel, Shadows of the Wind, was given to me by fellow Prime Writer, Rebecca Mascull. ‘You’ll love it,’ she said. ‘It’s set in Spain in 1945.’ It sat on my shelf for a long time – I had no desire to read about Spain in 1945, but when eventually I did pick it up, I absolutely fell in love with it. The story is rich and intriguing, linking so many well-drawn characters together in a story about love, literature and family. Reading the very first page, I knew I was in safe hands. The line ‘We buried her [Mother] in Montjuic on my fourth birthday. The only thing I can recall is that it rained all day and all night, and that when I asked my father whether heaven was crying, he couldn’t bring himself to reply’ – stayed with me for a long time.
Following that, I went off to find out what else he’d written and was so pleased to find out he wrote for children and teens – my passion, as a YA writer. So began a long phase of reading everything of his I could get my hands on – The Prince of Mist, The Watcher in the Shadows, The Midnight Palace, Marina – all wonderfully gothic tales of intrigue. I adored them, passed them onto my son, who in turn, bought one for a friend. I love it when reading one book is the start of a whole different reading journey.
His books are translated from Spanish to English by Lucia Graves.