It might just be my extensive background in horror, but I really detected the creation of a considerably ‘creepy’ atmosphere throughout the story. Because of the patience in this story (and I swear I mean patience—this isn’t just my new literary go-to word), as readers we get an incredible amount of scenery and atmosphere that is gradually introduced as the plot progresses. Elements such as the isolated mountain village stuck in the past, the ignored savant in his secret museum, the way that Gregorio’s parents treat him as infantile, and Doctor Tomas’s eerie dreams of the miniature world Gregorio had created were all haunting. I feel like these themes were amplified by the equally creepy details; the way the museum windows had been papered up so nobody could see inside, or the way that Gregorio’s mother feeds him from her fingers after he could no longer use his hands. I had chills from these images, because they were so detailed and fairly dark in nature. This haunted theme also echoes the tragedy of Gregorio himself; as a reader, I myself feel haunted by the fact that Gregorio may never be able to continue the craft he has singularly devoted himself to for fifteen years.
Also, I enjoyed the way that this was almost in narrated in an oral tradition rather than written; the way the narrator spoke was more conversational than authoritative. This provided a very deep level of intimacy, and connected the reader to the characters in a way that perhaps a different tone may not have; I felt as if I were sitting in front of Dr. Tomas as he was explaining this story.
Finally, I thought it was interesting how the usage of technology came into play. Patrick, the hip young nephew of the reclusive Gregorio, is really the first sign of true modernity in the story. It his through his filming that the rest of Gregorio’s family comes to accept his incredible if somewhat strange habits; I also thought that it was interesting that the two forms of art, the miniatures and film, come together as a medium that his family could understand. I wondered if this was perhaps a commentary on how traditional art and modern technology shouldn’t be compared as though one is superior to the other, and instead they should be used to amplify each other’s emotional impact on a viewer.