Thursday, July 27, 2006

 

Book 40: The Seville Communion


another by one of my favorite authors, arturo perez-reverte. they are always mysterious dramas that take place in europe, however usually spain, amid art, literature, history, or the like. this one followed father lorenzo quart, a priest from rome, to seville to investigate mysterious deaths around our lady of the tears church. these aren't typical mysteries with detectives and motives and such, but stories about people holding onto the past with both hands, unable to stop what's happening to them. bankers want to demolish the church, yet several people are unwilling to let go. among them is the beautiful macarena, daughter of one of the oldest family's of spain's aristocracy. she lost her heart to the ancient church when she was a young girl, reading love letters a great aunt sent to a penniless sailor. an american nun, gris marsala fights to save the church as well. she is running from a life that she feels she wasted, and the restoration of this church gives her meaning and purpose. an old country priest, father ferraro, shepherds the unlikely parishoners and refuses to give into rome or "progress." quart comes back to spain haunted by his own ghosts to figure out the entire mess and along the way he loses a little bit of himself to the old church, and to macarena. i liked this book, as i like all of perez-reverte's. he writes about interesting places in such a way that you feel as if you belong. i imagined myself strolling through the santa cruz district of seville in the hot sun, enjoying the cafes and orange blossoms. there is a certain sadness in his characters that i find appealing, maybe because i like tragedy. there is also some ambiguity that can be refreshing and frustrating at the same time. there aren't good guys and bad guys in his books, nor are there clear cut happy endings. maybe as a european, he realizes that events and life seldom wrap up neatly. rather there is good and bad in everyone and everything, and all we can do is go on. i recommend this book, as well as all others by him.

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