Diego is coasting. He has been content with living his life in a sun scorched pueblo that lies on the route of the pilgrim path: The Way of Saint James. But one stormy night, change is forced upon him when his father, Eduardo, the local candyfloss man, unexpectedly catches him entertaining a captivated crowd with flamenco guitar rhythms. At that moment, Eduardo relinquishes the hold from the ghosts of his past and realises it’s time for Diego to confront his fate. Eduardo arranges for Diego to live and work on a farm and sends him on his way with the gift of his old Spanish guitar.
‘Candyfloss Guitar’ is a story about taking the first steps on a journey towards shrouded dreams and searching for meaning.
4.5 Stars (Rounded to 5)
I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
It’s been a while since I’ve had time to write a review, and this is certainly a fantastic novella to get the ball rolling; I’ve been wanting to write this review for days. As it’s only a short novella, I’m reviewing this one in bite-size format, but I think there’s certainly enough to say about it! I received a PDF of ‘Candyfloss Guitar’ from Stephen Marriott for review (he’s a lovely guy!) and I read it to de-stress one evening this week. I have to say that I am not a massive fan of novellas in general, as they often feel too short or crammed, but ‘Candyfloss Guitar’ was certainly an exception to that. About a young man called Diego who spontaneously walks the Camino de Santiago on a journey of self-discovery, this novella is now on my automatic recommendations list if you want a quick read that is going to provoke you to think. I really, really enjoyed it.
- The first thing to say is that the writing is really, really good. It flows beautifully, and captivates you from the beginning. Stephen Marriott clearly has a great passion for travelling – it comes through that he had walked the Camino de Santiago and that his ideas were drawn from his own experience of the pilgrimage, and that makes the story feel incredibly genuine and eminently enjoyable. I’d love to read more from Mr Marriott.
- Diego and his father Eduardo were interesting characters to read about. I found the dynamic between them to be very strong, and (VERY VAGUE SPOILER) the final scene with Eduardo was quite emotional and thought-provoking. In his choices and behaviour, Diego felt believable, which gave his journey more impact on me as the reader.
- I was invested in the story, which is a key element that is normally lacking for me when it comes to shorter stories (or indeed for many full novels!); in a small amount of pages, I still managed to become immersed in the tale. I even welled up at moments, which is quite rare! I’m also still thinking about it four days later, so despite being short in length, the content still packed a punch!
- This isn’t much of a problem, but part of me wishes that it was a little bit longer, mostly because I loved it so much, but also because I think I still want to see a bit more of Diego. Saying that, the actual size of the novella was sufficient, as it did not lack anything or leave me frustrated at wanting more, it just would have been nice to read a little bit more.
Would I recommend? – Definitely. I think this short story deserves a lot of readers and a lot of appreciation. I certainly loved it, and I would love to see more people enjoying it too.