By PAT HARTMAN
Not long ago, we noted the top ten party destinations in Europe this summer, so named by Student Universe , and one of them is Barcelona, Spain. Taking a closer look, we find that it’s not all fun and games. It’s not the Barcelona of novelist Ruiz Zafón, anyway. In The Irish Times, prolific writer Arminta Wallace gives us “Creating a fiction that’s real,” which incorporates material from an interview with Zafón and also discusses his work, especially the novel The Shadow of the Wind. The city becomes a character, and Zafón says he treats it like any character, with costumes and make-up. According to Wallace:
His is not the sunny Barcelona of the tourist posters, but a city of dark alleys and medieval buildings, rain-sodden, fog-shrouded, sometimes carpeted by a sprinkling of snow.
Zafón must be doing something right, because his books sell in the millions. He has a great website, which includes music composed by the author, as kind of a soundtrack to the book, and some lovely video clips full of atmosphere.
There’s a Barcelona anecdote in The Third Tower Up From the Road, an incident that illustrates the Dolgin Theory of Cross-Cultural Communication, which has to do with useful foreign phrases. There’s also a whole essay called “The Street Performers of Barcelona, Spain.” Kevin went to a part of town known as the Barri Gotic, where the buskers ply their trade. He heard and saw a street musician playing a kalimba, an instrument very few people have even heard of, let alone played. He says Barcelona is “a magnet for singers and lovers and dreamers and poets and sculptors.”
If salsa dancing is what you go to Barcelona for, Cindy McCain knows how to find the right clubs once you get there. But it’s too late to catch Oprah Winfrey, whose 55th birthday cruise visited the city last month. Sorry!