The City of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

 “And tell him he did, for the wine of storytelling ran through his veins… it was his practice to firstly tell himself the things of the world in order to understand them and then tell them to others, draped in the music and light of literature, because he sensed that if life was not a dream it was at least a pantomime where the cruel absurdity of the narrative always ran behind the scenery…”

Back in July of 2020, the world lost a remarkable storyteller with the passing of Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Renowned for his “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” series, Zafón was known for writing gorgeous, atmospheric stories with complex characters and haunted Gothic settings. As one of my favorite authors, I can personally attest to losing myself in his works. Needless to say, when I heard a posthumous collection of short stories was to be published, I anxiously awaited its release!

Compiled by Zafón himself before his untimely death, The City of Mist comprises of eleven stories, all of which are imbued with captivating characters and unique narratives set in Barcelona. These tales range from a young boy who is inspired to invent and tell stories after befriending a very special young girl, to a young woman who undergoes a harrowing experience while with child, to a gentleman who attempts to prolong the life of his lover through the written word, to a haunted architect who struggles to complete his life’s work and legacy. Not only do these stories pull at your heartstrings, they are also woven with timeless and compelling threads of human experience you won’t soon forget. Additionally, I was able to find hints and allusions to characters and landmarks within Zafón’s “Cemetery of Forgotten Books”  throughout these stories, which was an absolute treat. Another unique aspect of this collection is that many of these stories had never been published in English before. One of the most incredible things about Zafón’s writing is his beautiful crafting of words, and I tend to forget that his works were not originally written in English, but in Spanish.

All in all, reading this book has inspired me to reread Zafón’s entire series over again. It is a gorgeous work of literary fiction we are lucky to have, especially in light of his passing. Zafón is an author that will never be forgotten by his millions of readers, as he was truly a gem who created masterpieces every time he took pen to paper.

“Soon afterwards, like figures made of mist, father and son disappear into the crowd of the Ramblas, their steps lost forever in the shadow of the wind.”

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