There was no special fanfare when Spanish publisher, Planeta, published Carlos Ruiz Zafón's fifth book (but his first for adults) The Shadow of the Wind in 2002. The book took off, spending more than 60 weeks on the bestseller lists in Spain, and has been translated into at least 20 languages. As for his earlier books, Zafón says that writing novels for young adults was 'never my natural genre', even though his first, El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of Mist, 1993), earned him the Edebé literary prize for young
adult fiction (it appears that none of his YA books are available in English).
Zafón, who was born in Barcelona in 1964 but has lived in Los Angeles since 1993, still has a house in Barcelona. He describes his home town as a place with a palpable sense of history, saying "the weight of everything, just seems to get inside you. You just walk in there and you feel it, it has an
The paradox of The Shadow of the Wind, according to Ruiz Zafón, is that it could only have been written in Los Angeles: "I thought it would be a place that would allow me to keep working," but "it turned out to be a place that I found quite liberating. A lot of people talk about Los Angeles as this terrible place and the thing I found is it's a big nowhere. It's a place that becomes whatever you make of it. It's filled with interesting people from all over. And you know, why not?"
Both The Angel's Game and Shadow of the Wind are translated into English by Lucia Graves (daughter of poet and I, Claudius author Robert Graves); who was raised on the island of Majorca in postwar Spain.
This biography was last updated on 07/06/2009.
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