Sunday, April 05, 2009

Well-Read Weekend #5

I continued on my spanish kick this week, devouring yet another Gaudi book. Perhaps I do regeret leaving Spain so early. I also just got done with my second flamenco class. Flamenco, I've learned, is not just looking angry and stomping your feet--it is a complicated combination of head turns, skirt work, heel-tow, hand twisting, and body angling. I'll need to practice a bit.

What was easy however, was reading The Gaudi Key by Esteban Martin and Andreu Carranza.
I remember longingly picking up the book at FNAC, a giant department store in Barcelona that was a fun way to kill time without spending any money. (It also has an interesting Socialist history if you read the wiki article.) I say longingly not because I couldn't afford the book, but rather it was only out in Catalan, and later Spanish. I had already started on my Gaudi obsession trying to visit every building he had created in the city.

Finally the book has come out in English, and armed with my library card, I had it delivered within a week to my branch.

The Gaudi key has some serious flaws. It reads much like a mystery novel and lays the religion on pretty thick. I'll blame the lack of poetry on the translators. (How many Catalan to English translators exist anyway?) I'll blame the religion on Gaudi's nature. In any case, it was not too hard to swallow all the God talk when it came alongside the fantastical secret tunnels and objects hidden in Gaudi's works. I lump it all in to fantasy.

The book might be a bit hard to follow for one not familiar with Gaudi's works. But for one who is, it was really exciting to follow along the couple's mission as they raced through the streets of Barcelona to each of Gaudi's buildings decoding the mystery of the knights. Toward the end I pulled out my picture books of Gaudi's architecture and a google map of barcelona and tried myself to decode the symbolism and riddles.

I'd recommend for other lovers of Gaudi, otherwise the book is just a confusing Catalan copy of the DaVinci Code.

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