Uit: The Prisoner Of Heaven (Vertaald door Lucia Graves)
“That year at Christmas time, every morning dawned laced with frost under leaden skies. A bluish hue tinged the city and people walked by, wrapped up to their ears and drawing lines of vapour with their breath in the cold air. Very few stopped to gaze at the shop window of Sempere & Sons; fewer still ventured inside to ask for that lost book that had been waiting for them all their lives and whose sale, poetic fancies aside, would have contributed to shoring up the bookshop’s ailing finances.
‘I think today will be the day. Today our luck will change,’ I proclaimed on the wings of the first coffee of the day, pure optimism in a liquid state.
My father, who had been battling with the ledger since eight o’clock that morning, twiddling his pencil and rubber, looked up from the counter and eyed the procession of elusive clients disappearing down the street.
‘May heaven hear you, Daniel, because at this rate, if we don’t make up our losses over the Christmas season, we won’t even be able to pay the electricity bill in January. We’re going to have to do something.’
‘Fermín had an idea yesterday,’ I offered. ‘He thinks it’s a briljant plan that’ll save the bookshop from imminent bankruptcy.’
‘Lord help us.’
I quoted Fermín, word for word:
‘Perhaps if by chance I was seen arranging the shop window in my underpants, some lady in need of strong literary emotions would be drawn in and inspired to part with a bit of hard cash. According to expert opinion, the future of literature depends on women and as God is my witness the female is yet to be born who can resist the primal allure of this stupendous physique,’ I recited.
I heard my father’s pencil fall to the floor behind me and I turned round.
‘So saith Fermín,’ I added.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Barcelona, 25 september 1964)