the antiquarian Gustavo Faverón Patriau

The Antiquarian by Gustavo Faverón Patriau

The Antiquarian by Gustavo Faverón PatriauThe Antiquarian by Gustavo Faverón Patriau
Published by Grove Atlantic on 6/3/2014
Source: Publisher
Pages: 240
Buy from IndieBound


Three years after Gustavo last spoke to his friend Daniel, he gets a call from the psychiatric ward where Daniel has been held since his fiancée’s murder. Claiming he wishes to confess the truth behind the murder, Daniel asks Gustavo to visit the ward, reeling him into a dark world of Daniel’s past. As Gustavo listens, he realizes the truth will come only if he can piece together the stories Daniel tells with remnants gathered from the life he left behind.

While some translations can suffer from stiff sentences and clipped phrases, the language in The Antiquarian is wonderfully lyrical. It feels as though the beauty in the original work was simply moved onto new pages rather than being rearranged or lost, which is an important detail. Though, at its core, the novel has the plot of a murder mystery, it is the prose and Gothic mood that moves it into a wholly new category.

The Gothic tones that permeate the novel will appeal to readers looking for a contemporary Poe, but Patriau’s answers are buried a bit deeper. For those willing to dive into the madness he creates, The Antiquarian is well worth the ride.


  • This sounds like something that I’d really enjoy reading (and that cover!!). Adding it to my TBR list right now :)

  • I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I just couldn’t get into it. May it was the wrong book at the wrong time. But I think I will give it another try this summer.

    • It’s definitely very atmospheric, so if it’s not what you’re in the mood for at the time I can see how it wouldn’t work.

  • Katherine Nabity

    The cover hooked me, but “contemporary Poe” reeled me in. Translations are always tricky things. Good to hear that this one doesn’t lack.

    • I’ve definitely read some translations I’ve been disappointed in (even though I could tell the source was likely quite well written), but this is one of the best.

  • Silver’s Reviews

    This book sounds good even though the translation may be a bit tricky.

    THANKS for sharing. Nice post and review.

  • I think it’s so important for a translation to retain the beauty of the original language. So glad this one does that!

  • Okay, that cover freaks me the heck out. This sounds like a book I want to read around October!

  • I’ve had this book in the pile FOREVER. You might have spurred me to get to it sooner. :)

  • Anita LeBeau

    I haven’t read many books translated to English, but this books sound utterly creepy…I like. I agree with Heather, great October read!

    • Words for Worms

      I’m with Anita! Making a mental note to put this on my scary October book list!

  • This sounds so great! I love a gothic style novel. From your post, I get the sense it might have the feel of The Shadow in the Wind or the Angel’s Game, both of which I loved.

  • This sounds so cool! I love a good translated book :)

  • Sounds like my kind of book! Will definitely keep my eye out for it :)

  • So glad you reviewed this! I got a copy from the library and with everything going on was not sure I would read it but now it sounds like I need to!