Barcelona, 1945 - just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mothers face. To console his only child, Daniels widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelonas guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniels father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Caraxs work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelonas darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesnt find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.
As with all astounding novels, The Shadow of the Wind sends the mind groping for comparisonsThe Crimson Petal and the White? The novels of Arturo Pérez-Reverte? Of Victor Hugo? Love in the Time of Cholera?but in the end, as with all astounding novels, no comparison can suffice. As one leading Spanish reviewer wrote, "The originality of Ruiz Zafóns voice is bombproof and displays a diabolical talent. The Shadow of the Wind announces a phenomenon in Spanish literature." An uncannily absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books, The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storytellers art.
Shadow of the Wind
A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept. My first thought on waking was to tell my best friend about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Tomás Aguilar was a classmate who devoted his free time and his talent to the invention of wonderfully ingenious contraptions of dubious practicality, like the aerostatic dart or the dynamo spinning top. I pictured us both, equipped with flashlights and compasses, uncovering the mysteries of those bibliographic catacombs. Who better than Tomás to share my secret? Then, remembering my promise, I decided that circumstances advised me to adopt what in detective novels is termed a different modus operandi. At noon I approached my father to quiz him about the book and about Julián Carax--both world famous, I assumed. My plan was to get my hands on his complete works and read them all by the end of the week. To my surprise, I discovered that my father, a natural-born librarian and a walking ...
Shadow of the Wind is a complex and sometimes long winded novel (480 pages) that has drawn comparisons to books such as The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. It combines elements of romance, mystery and crime into one big paella of a book, while also exploring many aspects of love - the love of a good book, the love of parents for their children, of unrequited, unspoken and rejected love and of love lost.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (671 words).
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. However, it took off,
spending more than 60 weeks on the bestseller lists in Spain,
and has now been translated into 20
languages. Zafón says that the young adult novel
was 'never my natural genre' (as far as I can see, none of his
earlier works are available in English).
The paradox of The Shadow of the Wind, according to Ruiz Zafón, is that it could only have been ...
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