My rating: 2 of 5 stars
“The Street of the Three Beds” really had me by the title, cover, and premise all in one swoop. Set in the heart of Barcelona, the story revolves a 25-year old gent named Maurici whose 22-year old lover, Rita, goes missing from a lingerie store during the period between the 1880s and 1920s. He sets off on a measure to find her on a dark, twisting street known as “The Street of the Three Beds”, and slowly in his journey – between bouts of peril, sensuous relations, and observations of corruption, he learns what happened to Rita and finds his discoveries hit a little more closer to home than he expected.
I, for the life of me, found it difficult to immerse myself in this book. I don’t think it was because of the translation from the author’s native tongue at all – in spells the writing and attention to detail is beautiful. Yet at the same time, I felt utterly disconnected with the story because Maurici is uninterested in his plight for a good while into the story. True, we learn quite a bit about Maurici’s character, from his boyhood to his adult life, and the careless way he weaves in and out of it up until the point where Rita disappears. But even still, we get the sense that he’s not really interested in the journey to find Rita, that his search isn’t in desperation, more out of guilt and obligation. Particularly when it’s insinuated that Rita is pregnant. The story takes a while to get going, though sets very few important scenes that later play a major role in the reveals the story sets up towards the conclusion. It’s a novel I think had great ideals, and the dangers, mistreatment and corrupt statuses are all quite real, but lack a true establishment of place and connection because the characters aren’t quite as intimate as they could be. Even for a short read, this took quite a while to get through because it didn’t balance narrative pacing with its respective character development.
Unfortunately not a mystery where one size fits all, and I don’t think it has the same strength of narrative pull as the premise, mystery and setting establishment, but it does have its sparking moments, and I have to give it credit for that even if this read ended up not being my cup of tea.
Overall score: 2/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Open Road Media/Barcelona.