Saturday, March 23, 2013

Shelf Candy Saturday #61: Los Libros Arden Mal (Books Burn Badly), by Manuel Rivas

Welcome to
Shelf Candy Saturday!!

This weekly meme/blog hop, hosted here,
features beautiful book covers!

If you'd like to participate, just grab my button (or create your own), write your own post, and link up in the Linky widget at the bottom of this post.  (You have to click on "Read more" so that the entire post will open up.)

As a bonus, you can include information on the artist, designer, and/or photographer, but it's not required.  You can simply feature a cover and explain why you love it!

Here's my choice for this week!

(translated from Galician to Spanish
by Dolores Vilavedra)
Trade Paperback, 610 pages
November 1, 2006
Bibliophilia, Literary Fiction

Why do I love this cover?

This image has a surreal quality about it,  even though, for the most part, it looks very ordinary...until one glances down at the lower right-hand corner, and then realizes, with a little shock, that a painted fire is licking away at it... 

When I first saw this cover, the Surrealist painter Rene Magritte immediately came to mind.  He painted pictures full of very ordinary objects, but placed in completely illogical compositions, or placed together with other objects that would normally not be found near them.  Yet, his paintings were very realistic. 

I also see some influence from Henri Matisse here; these objects are just a bit stylized, not painted in a completely realistic manner.  

Even before one becomes aware of the flames burning away one corner of this painting, one can sense that something is wrong within this scene.  The oversized grapes look more like deadly insects than grapes.  The books look fragile, unimportant, since no titles or chapter headings are visible.   They're also not very thick. 

Interestingly, one of the two clouds in the painting is floating inside the room, immediately in front of the right-hand side curtain.  This, of course, heightens the sense of unreality.  Also, the balcony rails look more like prison bars than actual balcony rails. 

The painting on this cover was created by Francisco Miguel, and was painted in 1930, which means that he was a contemporary of both Magritte and Matisse, so that's why the influences are so obvious.  I had never heard of this artist before, since he seems to be rather obscure.  However, he has certainly created a very effective image here!  Although it is an unsettling one, it is also one of eerie beauty...and the color blue is present, as well!

Although I was unable to get any information
on this artist, I do have some links
for the other two, who are of course,
very famous.
Thus, you can get some idea of
the artistic influences I'm referring to.

What do you think of my choice?
What beautiful cover(s)
are you showcasing this week? 


  1. Very insightful analysis of this painting Maria. As you point out at first glance it seems so conventional.

    I took a look at the plot summery for the book. It seems to match the "off balance" feel of the cover.

  2. Very interesting book indeed. I like the cover. The artist did a very good job on it.


  3. Hey, Brian!

    Yes, this book is indeed strange...from Goodreads reviews of it I've gotten a general picture of what it's about. It deals with the Franco regime's domination of Spain from 1936 until (apparently) 1963. During this time, many books written by liberals were burned.

    A couple of reviewers mentioned the beautiful prose. Most of the reviewers agreed, though, that this is a very difficult book to get into, because of the lack of a cohesive plot, the way dialogues 'jump around', and the long prose passages filled with complex sentences.

    Since I do own this book, I will try my hand at reading it. However, it does look like a rather daunting task!

    Thanks for commenting!1 :)

  4. Hi, Grace!

    glad you like this cover! Although it wasn't created for this particular book (the painting was done in 1930), it fits the subject matter of the book very well!

    Thanks for commenting!! :)


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