Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Publisher Comments: The international literary bestseller — more than one million copies sold worldwide.
Barcelona, 1945 — just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday 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 volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, 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 one 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.
1.“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
2. "The white marble was scored with black tears of dampness that looked like blood dripping out of the clefts left by the engraver's chisel. They lay side by side, like chained maledictions."
My thoughts: I listened to this book and is seemed to take a long time. This was a mystery story but it was much more. It was a coming of age story that included several love stories, sacrifice, revenge, madness.... It was a complicated story with many twists and turns and lots of characters. The story Daniel was trying to piece together was told to him piece by piece by several people, each time leaving me puzzled and wanting to know the whole story. I read in one review that this story "unfolds in layers, as if the novel were a Russian nesting doll." Which pretty well sums it up. My favorite character was Fermín Romero de Torres. He had a lot of personality and his story was very touching, even as it wove in and out of the edges of the story Daniel was seeking. I also liked Nuria a lot. Through her the story is finally pieced together. The character I felt the worst for was Miquel Moliner. In the end I was left with a very positive feeling about it.
It was translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves, who in my opinion did a great job. I could picture the places, laugh at the humor and feel the atmosphere created by the author. I also enjoyed listing to the narration of Johnathan Davis.
SOTW is the winner of Awards—Edebe Children's Literary Award, Best Novel, 1993
The author's website.
SOTW Walk in Barcelona.
Paperback: 487 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Later Printing edition (January 25, 2005)
mystery, love, coming of age, murder, revenge, books about books, Spain