There are some folks who love books and I don’t mean reading them. They love the physical things themselves, and the older the better. Leather bindings, heavy paper, oh that smell, oh that heft. Books are better than the stories inside them because stories are about people and people are awful.
The Club Dumas is about these folks, these book lovers, and if you’re a book lover too this is going to read like pornography for you. I am not a book lover, myself, preferring the easy accessibility of my trusty e-reader. That’s how I read this book about books, bringing my can of soda-pop to the Queen’s banquet, as it were.
But I do like stories about books. Umberto Eco and Ruiz Zafon and those fellows. The Club Dumas almost holds up to those guys, at least in scholarship; even if everything that Arturo Pérez-Reverte wrote is made up, it sure feels smart. Where it loses me, though, is in the story: you know, that thing I like most about reading.
There’s a lot going on, stuffing together Alexandre Dumas, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dante Alighieri, Dan Brown. But for all that, it seems a bit mashed together. Like the author got two ideas and decided to write them at the same time and see where they’d link up. But they didn’t.
Sex, gin, satan, rainy nights. There’s enough here to keep you going until the last page, I guess, but at the end all I could think of was, that’s it? Thankfully I didn’t have to reshelve the thing when I was done. I just turned my e-reader off.