Carlos Ruiz Zafón: ‘I’m haunted by the history of my city’

From The Independent:

ZafonThe Covent Garden Hotel off Seven Dials, London's 17th-century junction, is a fitting location in which to meet the perpetually inquisitive Carlos Ruiz Zafón. “The stranger who finds himself in the Dials for the first time,” wrote Charles Dickens in Sketches by Boz, “at the entrance of seven obscure passages, uncertain which to take, will see enough around him to keep his curiosity awake for no inconsiderable time.” Ruiz Zafón is no stranger to the allure of eerie alleys. In his bestseller The Shadow of the Wind, the master of Catalan gothic seized upon the seductive, sinister nature of Barcelona's maze of avenues and plazas during the chaos of the Spanish Civil War and its Francoist hangover. The Prisoner of Heaven, the third in a projected quartet of tales set around the city's mythical literary haven of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, is now being published in English. We settle into the hushed cocoon of the hotel's drawing room, where Ruiz Zafón cuts a gently commanding figure. He's a great bear of a man with a neat goatee and a voice lazing half way between Beverly Hills and the Ramblas of Barcelona. He's the physical opposite of Fermin Romero de Torres, the beanpole hero of The Prisoner of Heaven. Fermin is the skinny bookseller at Sempere and Sons, purveyors of fine volumes; a romantic with a quickstep wit and tango libido. Held in Montjuic castle by Franco's goons, his period of captivity holds the key to earlier mysteries and future retribution.

“What I want is that these stories are arranged as a labyrinth with different points of entry,” says Ruiz Zafón.

More here. (Note: For Sara Preisler who introduced me to this magnificent story teller.)