The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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September 8, 2016

The altogether unexpected disappearance of Atticus Craftsman

Oh, this was one was fun, just a romp, with the kind of quirky silliness that works especially well if some of its ingredients {tea, and eccentric British people, and a plain 'literary spinster' (!!!) in her fifties} are the things you'd love to find in anything you read, even as others are altogether unexpected, like the book being set in Madrid and Granada. {The dust jacket mentions that this is Mamen Sánchez' sixth novel, but the first to be published in English.}

I'll give you the barest bones of the story.  Atticus Craftsman is the handsome, restless son of Marlow and Moira Craftsman {for generations all of the men in the Craftsman family have been given the names of literary figures}. Atticus works for his father, the head of a British publishing house, and is sent to Madrid to close down the failing literary magazine the firm had launched there. Faced with the loss of their jobs and the lives they have built around them, the five women who run the magazine — Berta, the contented 'literary spinster'; Asuncion, who is placid, overweight and comforting; Maria, the young wife and mother who (it turns out) is unfaithful to her husband; Gaby, the computer whiz who is recently married and unable to get pregnant; and Soleá, the sexy young woman from Granada who wants a career and a flat of her own more than a husband — try to delay the inevitable by luring Atticus away from the office with the promise of finding some unpublished poems by Federico García Lorca in a trunk in Soleá's grandmother's attic. Then, when the elder Mr. Craftsman realizes that he hasn't heard from Atticus in months and Mrs. C. starts asking questions, he reluctantly enlists the help of Inspector Manchego, an intrepid middle-aged policeman who has changed his name so that he can channel Don Quixote.

I think it might be impossible for me to describe how Sánchez turns this story into such a delightful romp, but she does. So if reading a book with tea and books and hot-blooded romance and elderly aunts doing the flamenco in a cave on a Spanish hillside is at all appealing, this one's definitely recommended. :)

The altogether unexpected disappearance of Atticus Craftsman, by Mamen Sánchez,
translated by Lucy Greaves

Atria Books, 2016
Borrowed, from the Boston Public Library

1 comment:

JoAnn said...

This sounds just perfect... the book I should have been reading when I couldn't concentrate on anything the past few weeks! Unfortunately, neither of the libraries I use have a copy, but I've added it to my amazon wish list for the next time the need arises ;-)

Thank you for visiting!

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