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 written in Los Angeles, his home for the past 10 years. He says "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?"
Zafón 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 entity." He is working on a new novel but is finding it difficult to work on while still engaged in such a hectic schedule of international travel. He says "I need to be away from the world, I just cannot take the laptop with me and say, 'You know what, I have two or three days, I'm going to write a chapter'. That's just not the way I do it".
This article is from the February 2, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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