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Review: The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Translated by Lucia Graves
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: January 2005
ISBN-13: 9780143034902
512pp

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

Barcelona, 1945—A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called The Shadow of the Wind, by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax’s other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that The Shadow of the Wind is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author’s identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret.

The Short of It:

This novel is a wonderful combination of all things good, a locale shrouded in mystery, murder, intrigue, characters that stay with you long after you finish the book and it all centers around the love of books. What could be better?

My Thoughts:

A friend of mine urged me to read this one. It took me awhile to get around to reading it (so sorry for the delay!) but after reading just a few pages, I knew it was going to be good, so I put it aside to read while on vacation.

Each time I opened the book, I felt as if I had stepped inside Daniel’s world. I experienced Barcelona through his eyes…the dark alleyways, the bookstore where he worked, and of course the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Zafon’s writing is rich with detail, but not overly done. I stopped several times to reread certain passages just because I found them to be so beautifully written.

To me, a really good book has to have memorable characters and I fell in love with many of the characters. Here are just a few:

Daniel Sempere
He’s the main character and we see him grow up through the course of the novel. He’s a genuinely kind soul and wants to do what is right. He’s extremely loyal to his friends and when he falls in love, well…we feel his angst.

Fermín Romero de Torres
I loved Fermín! He’s fiercely protective of Daniel (for good reason). He’s incredibly pompous but in a humorous way. His eccentricities make for good reading. I found myself chuckling over his antics numerous times. I also caught myself sitting on the edge of my seat over some of his adventures.

Nuria Monfort
Nuria is the femme fatale in love with Julián Carax. She is so completely absorbed with Julían that her own life takes a backseat whenever she is with him. We learn more about Nuria as the story progresses but I found her to be such a tragic figure.

Julían Carax
What can I say about Julían? He is the author of “The Shadow of the Wind” and as Daniel desperately seeks to find the truth about the missing books and Julían in general, we learn all about Julían and the tragedies that he has been forced to endure.

This book made a permanent mark upon my soul. Honestly, if you haven’t read it, please do so. You won’t regret it. If the length of the novel seems daunting to you, don’t even pay attention to it because I cried when this book ended and I have NEVER cried over a book. It’s that wonderful.

Jill, over at Fizzy Thoughts was kind enough to send me Zafon’s new novel The Angel’s Game. I understand that this one is a prequel to Shadow but that each book stands alone. Additionally, Angel’s Game has the same translator as Shadow (Lucia Graves) which is a big plus because she did such an awesome job with Zafon’s first book.

I will probably begin The Angel’s Game next week and I can’t wait!

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