"It’s a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind." ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafon
In 1945, Daniel Seimpre’s father takes him to the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a huge library of old, forgotten book lovingly preserversed. It’s a secret place in Barcelona where Daniel is allowed to take one book and must protect it for life. Daniel randomly selects The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. He takes the book home and reads it, completely engrossed. Daniel then attempts to look for other books by this unknown author but can find none.
Before Daniel knows it, his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.
"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens."
I love books about books, but this one is epic, with epic being defined as long. It’s not for the faint of heart with over 565 pages. The story was compelling but perhaps even a little over-the-top. The Shadow of the Wind twists and turns and slowly unravels itself as an echo between Daniel’s and Julian’s life. Their lives seemingly in parallel.
The setting of Barcelona was the fabulous backdrop to a haunting story and the descriptions were vivid. The characters which drive the novel were plentiful and interesting. The most colorful was Fermín Romero de Torres, a homeless man with the mouth of a drunken sailor, who was befriended by Daniel and his father. Fermín becomes Daniel’s sidekick, friend, and mentor. While I was disappointed with the weak characterization of the women in the novel and would like to excuse it as a product of the time, I’m not so sure. Placing this aside, the novel is dramatic, suspenseful and engrossing. THE SHADOW OF THE WIND has an intricately woven plot and is filled with unrelenting tension.
Author Carlos Ruiz Zafón has won numerous international awards for The Shadow of the Wind, which was his first adult novel. Zafón was born in Barcelona in 1964 and had lived in Los Angeles since 1994 and works as a scriptwriter aside from writing novels. I listened to The Shadow of the Wind on Audible.
"Once, in my father's bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return."
Publisher Penguin Books
Published January 2, 2005
Narrated Jonathan Davis