- Paperback: 752 pages
- Publisher: Black Swan (26 Mar. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552773972
- ISBN-13: 978-0552773973
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 4.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cathedral of the Sea Paperback – 26 Mar 2009
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"Sculpted and fluid... the international bestseller appears now in an impressively graceful translation which captures beautifully the archaic and lyrical tone of the narrative... Its beauty lies in its vivd exposition of the complexities of a bygone society" (Independent on Sunday)
"Falcones's intricately plotted novel rests on meticulous research... the ambitious yarn binds you into its thrall - a bold work of imagination, which pays homage to lives gone by as well as to the great church itself" (Daily Express)
"Turns on legal and financial manoeuvres rarely found in a historical novel. Passionate in explaning 14th century Barcelona, [Falcones] draws convincing pictures of its architecture and culture, right down to the basics such as the sewage stream... an exciting, very readable adventure novel, enriched by realistic descriptions of medieval life, work, finance and politics" (Independent)
"A powerful historical saga set in 14th century Barcelona that spans slavery, serfdom and anti-Semitism, friendship and thwarted love" (Choice (Book of the Month))
The international bestseller...now in an impressively graceful translation which captures beautifully the archaic and lyrical tone of the narrative.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
There are lots of good things about Cathedral of the Sea: It's engaging, but not engrossing, readable and atmospheric, creating a sense of medieval Spain, and Barcelona in particular, with the first few chapters, a sense which is sustained to final page. But there are lots of bad things about this book too which, for me, detracted so much from the reading experience as to undermine the whole.
The narrative is plot driven, relating the life story of Arnau, son of a runaway serf made good, but the detailed descriptions of battles in particular and the lecture-like accounts of Spanish histories which pepper the novel are so turgid that the plot falls flat at times. Most of the characters are so under-developed that at times it is hard to understand their motivations or emotions, and Arnau, the central character, who is likeable enough, seems to suffer from having things done to him rather than having any sense of taking control, or responsibility, for his own life: strange in one who's professed desires include freedom and justice. While the author is at pains to display his intimate knowledge of medieval Barcelona, he seems to know very little of ways in which the renaissance, the reformation or industrialisation have changed the human psyche. Thus, we seem to have a series of characters who, with the exception of Arnau, seem more like 21st century inhabiting a time past, rather than being part of the fabric of their context.Read more ›
It may sound somewhat pompous but I mean it when I say that this novel is multi-layered. The main character, Arnau, is us the modern reader. His attitudes and aspirations are a wonderful mixture of liberalism, Marxism and post-modernism. Something of a rich mixture but all that makes sense within the realm of the book. His attitude toward the nobles, certainly from my point-of-view is Marxist. Bourgeoisie and proletarian: the main narrative of the story is the idea of the working class ridding their shackles of their "Noble" masters. Furthermore, Arnau's rise in power via his own choice is post-modern: he chooses his identity. He is the individual that we are supposed to aspire to be.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lovely book, especially if you know Barcelona well. Great read.Published 8 months ago by Laura McFarlane
Like some reviewers before me I felt at times this story often bordered on mini-lecturers or indeed at its worst, as if the writer was writing for 12 year olds, having to explain... Read morePublished 8 months ago by glynthea modood
Set in 14th century Barcelona, around the building of the magnificent Santa Maria del Mar––Cathedral of the Sea––in the Ribera district, I really enjoyed this book. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Elizabeth Perrat
Abook to immerse yourself in the time it was written. the troubles of our times were the troubles of theirs,but kurs are so much easier to escape from. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Campbell Ferguson
brilliant book. kept me enthrauled throught reading it. a must.to read agatin and again.Published 19 months ago by Anita Chapman