THE BLIND MAN OF SEVILLE

Robert Wilson, Author, Leslie Wilson, Author, Robb Wilson, Author . Harcourt $26 (448p) ISBN 978-0-15-100835-3

Proving that even the most talented authors can have an off day, Wilson (A Small Death in Lisbon, etc.) has come up with a long, dense, often brilliantly written but finally off-putting and depressing story, which starts with the grisly murder of a Seville restaurant tycoon. Parts of the novel work wonderfully: an interview between Javier Falcón, the chief of Seville's homicide squad, and the victim's young widow, crackles with wit and electricity as she gets more out of him than he does out of her. And Falcón (whose late father, a famous painter, had links to the dead tycoon going back to their days in the Foreign Legion in Tangiers during the Spanish Civil War) is often a fascinating figure—when he's not imploding with the weight of his discoveries about his father's past or the stress of his job and a recently failed marriage. Descriptions of a ranch where fighting bulls are bred and of a bullfight are worthy of Hemingway, as are scenes from life in Seville during Holy Week. But in the end, there's too much blood, too many old journals, too much torture and depravity to absorb and process into art and/or entertainment. (Feb. 3)

FYI: A Small Death in Lisbon won a CWA Gold Dagger Award for Fiction.

Reviewed on: 01/20/2003
Release date: 02/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
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