Thursday, September 30, 2010

The house of paper

By Carlos Maria Dominguez
It is a story about books. It begins with the death of a woman, who has had a car accident and in her hands is a book that she had just purchased – Emily Dickinson’s poems. Her name was Bluma Lennon; she was a professor of Latin American literature at Cambridge University. Several months after her death, a package that was addressed to her, arrives from Argentina. In the package is a book, covered with cement and has a weird inscription on the first page. So Bluma’s ex-lover goes to Buenos Aires to find the sender. When he arrives in Buenos Aires he discovers that Carlos Brauer, who was the sender, has disappeared without a trace.
The book is a mystery about Carlos Brauer, who has led a weird life. He was a real book addict; he had a precious library with lots of valuable books. Brauer spent all of his money buying books and had nothing left to make a proper storage place for all of them. He even sold his car to make more room in his garage to store more books, but soon even that was not enough. The last thing that his friend, who was also a bibliophile, heard was that Carlos had moved to Uruguay with all his books. There he built a house using them like a bricks.
I was completely in love with this book. It tells a story about people who are obsessed and dedicated to books. It was about reading and building valuable book libraries. One of my favorite quotes from this novel is: "It is often much harder to get rid of books than to acquire them. They stick to us in that pact of need and oblivion we make with them, witnesses to a moment in our lives we will never see again."  This is so true at least for me, I can’t get rid of my books. I can’t even give them away, I need to own them. Sometimes I read a good book that I have borrowed from somebody and I feel like I need to have it forever and I buy it, even though I know I won’t ever read it again. It’s like, Dominguez says, building a life and saving moments of time that you don’t want to forget, books can help you to remember. This is a must read for every true book lover.

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