The purpose of writing is to cause an emotional reaction. If the writer is trying to cause you to feel scared, happy, sad, nervous, excited, or whatever, if you feel any emotion then the writer has succeeded. Even if you experience a different reaction than the one the writer wanted, if you experience anger when they wanted to you experience surprise, they have still succeeded. The only way for a writer to fail is for you to have no emotional reaction at all, which is usually when you’re just bored with a book and going through the motions of following all the words. A truly great book, or even just a scene that is truly great, is one that sticks with you long after you have finished reading it.
Earlier this year I was introduced to the works of Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon by one of my classmates in my Fiction Appreciation class. I’ve enjoyed all of his books that I have read, but of them, one particular scene truly stands out as absolutely beautiful writing. In The Angel’s Game, there is a scene describing the funeral of one of the characters in the novel who owns a bookstore and works as a bookseller. The Angel’s Game is in a series (of sorts) with The Shadow of the Wind, and literature is at the center of the storylines for both of these books, as well as the central idea that connects the two books. The descriptions of the funeral and the eulogy were absolutely amazing and show how much Ruiz Zafon truly cares about literature.
I never made a note about where that scene occurs in the book, and I can’t find it offhand which means I won’t be able to share a few lines from it like I planned on for this post. I cried the first time I read it, and even thinking about it again before writing this post I was tearing up a little. The scene was beautifully written and Ruiz Zafon is a master with words (his translator is also very good). If you haven’t checked out any of his books, I highly suggest them all.