I spent a blissful weekend immersed in Miami Book Fair International events, not the least of which was an evening listening to Carlos Ruiz Zafon talk about his new book, El Juego del Angel (The Angel's Game in English--I'm not sure if it's been released in English yet so the title may vary when it is).
Ruiz Zafon is the phenom Spanish author of the international bestseller The Shadow of the wind (La Sombra del Viento) which has been translated into 30 languages so far. He's currently the most widely read Spanish author in the world. According to him, he now has reached the circulation levels of Miguel Cervantes!
He gave an interesting talk about how these two novels are part of a planned quartet of novels, all taking place in a magical-realism Barcelona and interrelated but independent. He wants each one to be like a different entrance to the same labyrinth. This idea of fashioning the novels like pieces of a Chinese puzzle box sounds fascinating.
He also reported that he won't be selling the film rights to The Shadow of the Wind anytime soon; he says the best film of a novel is the one made in the mind of the reader (a statement that was approved with applause by the audience). But he does live part-time in L.A. now, so it could be he's planning to write an independent screenplay; he didn't say and no one asked him. (Can anyone be living in LA and NOT be working on a screenplay? I don't think so!)
I read the first five chapters of his new book in Spanish and I'm not sensing the same beauty of language that I did in his first, which I read in English. It's too early to tell if this is due to a different approach/voice or maybe he had a genius translator!