Carlos Ruiz Zafn, thirty-nine, grew up in Barcelona. "The Shadow of the Wind" has spent more than a year on the Spanish bestseller list, much of it at number one, and has sold in more than twenty countries. Lucia Graves was raised on the island of Majorca in postwar Spain. She has published Spanish-language editions of the work of her father, the poet Robert Graves, and books by Katherine Mansfield and Anas Nin.
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Right of Return May 1, 2004
(Notes from the Publisher)
Spring 1492. Alba de Porta lives contentedly in a large old house in the Jewish quarter of Girona, on the NE coast of Spain, with her mother Regina. Alba's father died shortly after her birth and she was brought up by her grandfather, Rabbi Ismael de Porta, an enlightened man and a Kabbalist, who instilled in her the rudiments of Jewish mystical thought. News comes that the Catholic Monarchs have decreed the expulsion of all Jews from their kingdoms, unless they embrace the Catholic faith. This shatters Alba's universe, but, urged by the memory of her late grandfather, she decides to emigrate with her family.
Alba must now part from her great love, Vidal Rubén, who has converted to Catholicism in order to remain in Spain; under a blazing July sun, she begins the sorrowful journey of exile to the unknown. But amongst the few household possessions she is permitted to transport out of the country, Alba also carries an invisible treasure which nobody can take from her: an important religious text, discovered under the tiles of the Girona synagogue, which is crucial for the preservation of the Jewish mystical tradition. Rabbi Astruc of Besalú, who found the hidden book, has asked Alba to memorise it in order to ensure its safe exit from Spain.
She uses the architecture of her family home as a memorising aid to retain the words of the book in her mind; thus, when she leaves, she also takes with her the house of her ancestors and its entire contents on what proves to be an eventful and difficult journey, crossing the Pyrenees into Southern France, then travelling on to Italy and finally reaching the Ottoman Empire.
The memorised book plays a fundamental role in Alba's story: it guides her through the labyrinth of life, love and death and at the end of the journey is the key that will open the door of her past and reveal an unexpected secret.
The Memory House has also been published in Turkish by Gözlem as Anilar Evi, in Spanish as La casa de la memoria published by Seix Barral, and is due to be published soon in France by Anatolia.