Book Review: The Goldsmith's Secret by Elia Barcelo

One snowy night in New York City, a successful, solitary goldsmith reflects on his life, and his unreliable memories intertwine and collide. Journeying to the village in Spain where he grew up, he hopes with some trepidation that he will encounter Celia, "the Black Widow", a beautiful and mysterious friend of his mother with whom he had a short and passionate affair when he was a teenager. But instead he meets a young women who opens doors into an unimagined world, and takes him back in time. The Goldsmith's Secret is a remarkable story of a love trapped between two parallel times, set in Spain in the 1950's, 1970'2 and in the last year of the twentieth century.
The Goldsmith's Secret is a novella at just 93 pages and it took me just under an hour to read it. We see everything through the goldsmith's eyes, he looks back on his relationship with Celia which was passionate and intense. He returns to Villasanta, the spanish village where he met Celia, here things get a little confusing and I'm not entirely sure if they are intended to be. The goldsmith meets a young girl also called Celia and it seems that she takes him back in time. I still enjoyed these parts of the book but it was very difficult to distinguish between reality and fantasy.
However, I must say that Elia Barcelo's writing is simply beautiful. Although it has been translated, none of its descriptive power has been lost. Barcelo masterfully chooses words to effortlessly provide the reader with a clear image of the scene in their head. Although I didn't fully understand the story, I still really enjoyed reading The Goldsmith's Secret as the writing was very special.

Many thanks to Quercus for sending me the book to review, it is out now.

1 comment:

angelaclaire said...

Dot, good review for a novella. Although confusing at times! (the book), I'd like to get hold of a copy - escape to another place and two different decades - on a train journey. Thanks for this

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