The manual of darkness by Enrique De Heriz

The manual of darkness by Enrique De Heriz

Translator – Frank Wynne

Spanish Fiction

Enrique De Heriz is from Barcelona ,this is second novel in TO be translated to English ,a best seller in his native spain when it came out .He is also well-known as a Translator of books from english into spanish .

The manual of darkness at it heart is the story of Victor Losa we follow him over the period of a year at the start of the book he is a well-known Magician who has just been named the worlds best magician ,just as this happens he is struck down with blindness a huge moon like white spot in his vision ,the early part of the book deals with his initial reaction to this and also we have two other narratives one about his father who was a bit odd a scientist that loved keeping ants  nd seeing how they live .The other narrative is Victor tracking the history of a Victorian pickpocket called Peter grouse he finds this out via his mentor Mario Galvan they also discuss a myriad of other subjects .As the book unfolds , we see that the chance tha Victors sight is going to return is very slight ,so he seeks to help via a helper from ONCE ( the spanish equivalent of the RNIB in the uk )   Alicia helps Victor learns about how to cope in a unsighted world ,in the latter parts they are vignettes of famous blind people as we see how they coped with there sight loss .In the end victor starts to come to terms with his new life .

such a small degree of hope is like a minuscule balcony in a poor man’s home .Perhaps it looks out towards the bleak north ,perhaps it is not large enough even for one miserable chair and perhaps ,over time serves only to house three empty flowerpots that upon a time contained something living .It extends the space of the apartment only in the mind of those who live there .This is its meagre function ,and even if it succeeds in this it is a miracle ,Victor spends little time nurturing this vain 0.2 per cent of hope ,and whole days mony of them ,regretting that it will not come to pass .

Victor had been told he had 0.2 per cent chance of full vision

Where do I start with this book ,well at his heart is Victor he is a man who has gone from the top to the bottom of the world  in a second as he lost his sight ,but he copes in a way as he learns new things as he once spent a lot of time learning new tricks ,also a link back to when his father told him ants are deaf  he links this own blindness also an either or situation of which is worse condition .The book does what a lot of modern Spanish fiction does and that is make you think beyond the story into your own life and those around you .I suppose the nearest comparison would be the works of Carlos Ruiz Zafon  like his books this is a book that has many different levels to it .As ever Franks translation is well executed .

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gaskella
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 18:22:44

    I like the sound of this one, plus the cover! The tagline ‘Steeped in the history of magic’ immediately fascinated – it goes on the wishlist. Thanks.


  2. Geosi
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 12:53:19

    I like the premise too, Would have to search for this.


  3. Bina
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 17:09:41

    Sounds pretty fantastic, and I love the title and the cover! 🙂


  4. parrish
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 18:01:23

    This appeals, liking its premise & love books that make ponder past that final full stop.


  5. Malcolm Yaffe
    Nov 29, 2013 @ 23:50:28

    As a just retired professional magician I found the first half the book fascinating for its insights into the golden age of magic. Then the book deftly switches to a psychological study of blindness and is compulsively readable in a totally different way. The bittersweet enigmatic ending caught me by surprise and, as Heriz, I’m sure, fully intended, left a thoughtful aftertaste about the meaning of existence, success and failure. All in all, an experience I’m delighted not to have missed.


  6. Trackback: 20 Books of Summer #11-12 – de Hériz & Aboulela – Annabookbel

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August 2011


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