RIP Carlos Ruiz Zafón (1964 – 2020)

Carlos Ruiz Zafón was a Spanish novelist best known for his 2001 novel The Shadow of the Wind, the most successful novel in Spanish publishing history after Don Quixote.

The Bookworm (c. 1850) by Carl Spitzweg

The novel starts with the sentence:

“I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time.”

That first sentence is reminiscent of the first sentence of Marquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967):

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

Once the boy is taken to this library with his father, this is what he sees, a library which has been compared to The Library of Babel (1941) by Jorge Luis Borges:

“The man called Isaac nodded and invited us in. A blue-tinted gloom obscured the sinuous contours of a marble staircase and a gallery of frescoes peopled with angels and fabulous creatures. We followed our host through a palatial corridor and arrived at a sprawling round hall, a virtual basilica of shadows spiraling up under a high glass dome, its dimness pierced by shafts of light that stabbed from above. A labyrinth of passageways and crammed bookshelves rose from base to pinnacle like a beehive woven with tunnels, steps, platforms, and bridges that presaged an immense library of seemingly impossible geometry. I looked at my father, stunned. He smiled at me and winked.

“Welcome to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, Daniel.”

When you read the obituaries of Zafón, you read a lot about frustration of being a bestseller author lacking critical acclaim.

RIP Keith Tippett (1947 – 2020)

Keith Tippett was a British jazz pianist and composer who appeared and recorded in many settings, including a duet with Stan Tracey, duets with his wife Julie Driscoll), solo performances, and as a bandleader, and appeared on three King Crimson albums.

 You Are Here… I Am There (1970)

YouTube has the full album of You Are Here… I Am There (1970)

RIP Jean Raspail (1925 – 2020)

Jean Raspail was a French author best known for his novel The Camp of the Saints (1973), which is about mass third-world immigration to Europe.


Samuel Huntington in Clash of Civilizations (1996) described the novel as “searing” which was translated into Dutch as “ophitsend” which translates as ‘inciting’. He classified it as a product of “demographic pessimism”.

RIP Bruce Jay Friedman (1930 – 2020)

Bruce Jay Friedman was an American author and screenwriter.

Black Humor: Anthology by Bruce Jay Friedman

He is noted for his anthology Black Humor: Anthology (1965), a book in the tradition of André Breton’s Anthology of Black Humor (1940).

Friedman appears to have been a nobrow figure being active in the pulps as well as in serious literature.

RIP Irm Hermann (1942 – 2020)

Irm Hermann was a German actress best known for her films with Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

In Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), she is the girlfriend of racist Eugen (Fassbinder).

Things come to a crisis when her mother (Brigitte Mira) falls in love with a Moroccan Gastarbeiter (migrant worker).

Researching this death, I came across an interview with a very lovable Brigitte Mira and her relationship to director Fassbinder.