If only I knew how to write this book review.
The Shadow of the Wind enraptured me within paragraphs. I was immediately pulled into a beautiful world of well-woven words. Eventually, I even gave up writing down all my favorite quotes. There were so many great moments and sentences that I was stopping too frequently. I needed to keep pushing through with the story. The story gripped me right from the start and didn’t let go until I had read every single word.
People tend to complicate their own lives, as if living weren’t already complicated enough.
Set in Barcelona from 1945-1966, The Shadow of the Wind is the story of Julian Carax and Daniel Sempere. As a young boy, Daniel is taken to a magic place called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Here he must pick out a book that he will care for all his days. The book 10-year-old Daniel retrieves is none other than The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. After staying up all night reading this novel, and realizing that it has touched him and changed him forever, Daniel knows he must find more of Carax’s works. But once he starts to look, Daniel discovers someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has ever written. Intrigued and compelled, Daniel finds himself trying to learn as much as he can about Carax, his life, and his works. Soon, Julian and Daniel’s lives are forever entangled as Daniel tries to solve the mystery of Julian Carax.
Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.
There is little I can say about The Shadow of the Wind without revealing critical plot points. This was a rare read for me: I frequently had to double back on my guesswork. Typically, I’m good at predicting where a book will go. However, Daniel has to cope with unreliable characters who only know partial truths. I know that I will re-read this book over and over again as time passes. I am certain that with each re-reading I’ll find something new to discover. Some hidden secrets that Zafon left between the pages. Plus, I know that the first re-read, now that everything has been revealed to me, will be an eye opener. I will never be able to read this book for a first time again. This is both sad and wonderful.
The Shadow of the Wind is on many levels, a tribute to all literature. Zafon’s writing is brilliant.
Books are mirrors- you only see in them what you already have inside you.
This book also touched on many genres. Sometimes, it was literary fiction with beautiful quotes and fantastic ideas. At times it was genuine horror– I was certainly biting my nails and starting to question my choices at one point. It certainly has an aspect of romance, after all, we are in Barcelona. Magical realism played a part as well, giving us an air of mystery. Crime Fiction stood out as we got to know more about the infamous Inspector. Historical fiction was brought to the fore with mentions of the Spanish-American War, World War I, the Spanish Civil War (our primary backdrop for this book), and World War II. And, throughout it all, The Shadow of the Wind was a mystery.
Paris is the only city in the world where starving to death is still considered an art.
Trying to learn a bit more about the book, I stumbled upon Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s website. He composed some beautiful music to accompany his novel. I feel like his compositions really capture the essence of the book, and I encourage you to listen to them. Plus, he also put together a walking tour of the city so you can explore the actual locations identified in the book. [Map to the left] Brilliant. This is a big tourist attraction now for people going to Barcelona, and certainly an additional reason I would visit!
In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.
I could go on and on about how much I adored this book, the setting, the characters, the mystery… Yet there is little I can say without giving away essential information. As a beautiful gothic novel, all I know is that if you haven’t read this yet, you need to. Trust me.