- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
A prize-winning Spanish journalist and novelist makes his U.S. debut with this graceful, dream-like tale of life, love, and art.
The story takes place during the Spanish Civil War, when political prisoners from all walks of life converge in Franco's brutal jails. Among the incarcerated is Daniel Da Barca, a well-known doctor, who adores -- and is adored by -- the beautiful debutante Marisa. Their devotion to one another, despite Da Barca's imprisonment, is witnessed by Herbal, a crude and murderous prison guard. Herbal's voyeurism is supplemented by the ghost of an unnamed painter, who sits tucked behind Herbal's ear, much as the carpenter's pencil was kept behind the painter's own ear when he was alive. The irony in this intricate conceit is that the dead painter -- the spirit who accuses Herbal -- had also been a political prisoner -- executed by none other than Herbal under duress.
Already a bestseller in Spain, The Carpenter's Pencil is as devastating as it is beautiful. In the words of one of our readers, Brad, "this book cries out to be read more than once. I've read it three times now and feel I'm just wrapping my mind around all he has to say." But don't be intimidated by Brad's comments. Rivas weaves together the horrors of war with the magic of art, and the frailty of life with the endurance of love. The resulting tapestry is a gentle story that feels both fresh and intimately tied to the finest in Spanish and European literary traditions. (Summer 2001 Selection)