Friday, September 26, 2014

Review: The Club Dumas

The Club Dumas
The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first time I read it, I hated it, that was four years ago. I decided to re-read it because many of my friends loved it and I didn't, you see, I was 12 years old, you can't expect someone that age (and like me) to enjoy a book meant for adults (*coughs* school assignment *coughs*), so I thought I had perhaps misjudged the book.

And it turns out I did...

Lucas Corso is a book detective who is entrusted a copy of the original manuscript of The Anjou Wine (see The Three Musketeers) to verify it is indeed original, but at the same he is commended to do that same thing for a banned book from the 17th century, "Of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows".

If you are a fan of The Three Musketeers and a fan of mystery book, then this is a book just for you. There are numerous intertexts from this book I mentioned along with other Dumas' books and Sherlock Holmes.
The writing is good. It is kind of metaphorical sometimes, but it is not difficult to follow. The author uses many book references, so if you're not familiarized with classics, you might not understand them. Also, if you haven't read The Three Musketeers, you may want to read it first, it is not necessary, just a recommendation because, as the plot involves a chapter of that book, there is a lot of talk, which includes some spoilers, about The Three Musketeers.

The way the dual plot is developed is really good. Both plots include different characters that at some point of the story meet but not entirely. The connection between the authentication of The Anjou Wine and the line of narration of the book is well done. Also, I love that all the characters of the The Club Dumas are compared to one of The Three Musketeers, so in that way they decipher their movements (not their reasons, but the way they act).

The mystery part of the book is paced in an incredible way. Pérez-Reverte does that through many pictures taken from the already mentioned book "Of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows", written by Aristide Torchia. We see how Corso's reasons to continue with his work with this book changes: He, in first place, only accepts the job because of the money, then he continues it because he doesn't want to leave it unfinished and in the end, he is truly interested and caught by the book that he wants to know all the answers (and trust me, he was not the only one).

The characters are interesting. They all have a secret reason for doing what they are doing, possibly, the most intriguing was Irene Adler. And yes, you read it correctly: Irene Adler. Didn't I tell you something about the intertexts?

It contains many quotes with which I felt identified, I mean, Corso is a book detective, so you can expect him and his bibliophile friends to love books:

“One is never alone with a book nearby, don't you agree? Every page reminds us of a day that has passed and makes us relive the emotions that filled it. Happy hours underlined in red pencil, dark ones in black...”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas

“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing. And when I want to know something, I look it up in books--their memory never fails”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas

“Becoming a book collector is like joining a religion: it’s for life.”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas

“Whenever I got any money, I invested it in books. When my savings dwindled, I got rid of everything else—pictures, furniture, china. I think you understand what it is to be a passionate collector of books…”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas

Well, I don't know if you feel yourselves in those quotes, but as for myself, I do.

Anyway, now that I've read it with some maturity level and some reading experience, I can truly understand why my spanish teacher and my friends loved it. I had judged the book in a wrong way, but I'm glad I re-read it, because now I can talk about The Club Dumas in a rational way.

Recommended for people who love mystery/thriller books and to people who love characters who also have a passion for reading.

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