The Life of Shinke

The Shadow Of The Wind

Posted on: July 20, 2010

Title: The Shadow Of The Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Published: 2001 (English: 2004)

Translated by: Lucia Graves

Originally in: Spanish

Description: Barcelona, 1945—Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes one day to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.

Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a book from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the book he selects, a novel called The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s 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 of Carax’s books in existence.

Before Daniel knows it, his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness, and doomed love, and before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly. (Taken from Goodreads)

I started this book about a year ago, got sidetracked and ended up abandoning it. Now having picked it up again I could kick myself. This book was amazing. Once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. Work, sleep and the mundane routine of summer life were the only things that got in my way of reading this book. I wanted to solve the mystery of Julian Carax and his books as much as Daniel did.

When I wasn’t reading I was thinking about the mystery, scribbling down my suspects as the story unfolded. I felt like a detective, analysing everything he found out, weighing the odds and even with all that I almost got it wrong. As my elaborate solutions dissolved around me I threw out an idea that I’d been bouncing around in my head and voilà I solved the mystery, or well the one I was trying to solve.

I loved the characters and the fact that for almost everyone that you meet you get a little snippet about. A little story about their past or their habits something that made even the simplest character just a bit more real and memorable to you. He has a way of making his characters come to life and I found myself worrying about them, cussing them out, sympathizing with them and even despising some of the characters in this story.

I thought it was a great read, took me a little bit to finish it but I blame that mostly on work. I enjoyed my stay in Barcelona and my trips to Paris and I wish one day I can visit them for real if only to find out if there really is a crumbling mansion at 32 Avenida de Tibidabo.

I gave it a 5 out of 5 and I’d recommend it to everyone because, it’s awesome. 🙂

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