BookBrowse Reviews Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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Shadow of the Wind

by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon X
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2004, 496 pages

    Paperback:
    Jan 2005, 496 pages

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1st Novel Translated into 20 Languages

Comment: 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, whilst 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.

Set in Barcelona in the 1950s, it tells the story of 18 year-old Daniel Sempre, who finds a mysterious book in an equally mysterious library, by a little known author, Julian Carax.  So enamored is he of the author that he sets out to find out more about him and track down any other books he might have written.  However, he finds that not only has Carax written nothing else but that it seems someone is systematically eradicating all copies of the book by any means possible, including murder - and his might be the very last one in existence.  

Shadow of the Wind has been widely praised; one of the most glowing comments comes from Kirkus Reviews which says it "will keep you up nights-and it'll be time well spent. Absolutely marvelous."  However, there is a less glowing reaction from the reviewer at Publishers Weekly who feels that "Ruiz Zafón strives for a literary tone, and no scene goes by without its complement of florid, cute and inexact similes and metaphors... Yet the colorful cast of characters, the gothic turns and the straining for effect only give the book the feel of para-literature or the Hollywood version of a great 19th-century novel."   As always, you can decide for yourself by browsing the excerpt at BookBrowse, which has been expertly translated by Lucia Graves, daughter of the author and poet Robert Graves (I, Claudius et al).

This review first ran in the February 2, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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