Monday 13 August 2018

Domínguez, Carlos María "The House of Paper"

Domínguez, Carlos María "The House of Paper" (Spanish: La Casa del Papel) - 2007

An interesting book about a woman who dies reading, a man who builds a house out of books and another guy who tries to find the link between them. Too short for my liking (only 96 pages), one doesn't get to meet the characters very long, you just get started and the story is over.

But it was a pleasant enough read. And as a bonus, there's a lovely map in the front of the book showing the route of the protagonist to South America. It looks like those old maps that were printed on parchment, a detail every book lover must also love. A lovely little story about people who love books.

From the back cover:

"Bluma Lennon, distinguished professor of Latin American literature at Cambridge, is hit by a car while crossing the street, immersed in a volume of Emily Dickinson's poems. Several months after her untimely demise, a package arrives for her from Argentina-a copy of a Conrad novel, encrusted in cement and inscribed with a mysterious dedication. Bluma's successor in the department (and a former lover) travels to Buenos Aires to track down the sender, one Carlos Brauer, who turns out to have disappeared.

The last thing known is that he moved to a remote stretch of the Uruguayan coastline and built himself a house out of his enormous and valuable library. How he got there, and why, is the subject of this seductive novel-part mystery, part social comedy, and part examination of all the many forms of bibliomania.

Charmingly illustrated by Peter Sís, The House of Paper is a tribute to the strange and passionate relationship between people and their books."

There are a lot of books mentioned in this novel. The main one is
"The Shadow-Line" by Joseph Conrad.

Burckhardt, Jacob "The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy" (GE: Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien)
Cervantes, Miguel de "Don Quixote" (E: El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha)
Dickinson, Emily "Poems"
Dostoevsky, Fyodor "The Brothers Karamazov" (RUS: Братья Карамазовы/Brat'ya Karamazovy)
Faulkner, William "Absalom! Absalom!"
Hesse, Hermann "Siddhartha: An Indian Poem" (GE: Siddhartha)
García Márquez, Gabriel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (E: Cien años de soledad)
Hemingway, Ernest "A Farewell to Arms"
Salgari, Emilio "The Tigers of Malaysia" (IT: Tigre della Malesia)


  1. Sounds good to me. And I love the cover of the English translation. Peter Sis is great!

    1. They are all lovely covers but I dolike the English one, as well.