The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Shadow of the Wind by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón is one of my favorite books of all time. The book is on the best selling books list and Stephen King calls it “One gorgeous read”. With that I have to agree and I cannot describe my experience reading this book better than a quote taken from the book itself:

“Page after page I let the spell of the story and it’s world take me over, until the breath of dawn touched my window and my tired eyes slid over the last page”

shadow-of-the-wind

The story is centred on the ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ – a library where forgotten books and books that went out of print are stored. One of the bibliophiles who knows about it’s existence brings his 10 year old son, Daniel to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where he is allowed to choose one book. Daniel discovers ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Julian Carax and becomes completely engrossed with the story and thereafter tries to look for more books by the same author. Along with his friend Fermín Romero de Torres, a former prisoner, he traces the life of Julian Carax – the mysteries, secrets and the tragedies. After being approached by a mysterious figure who reminds him of a character in the book called Lain Coubert he finds out is that he is in possession of the last printed copy of The Shadow of the Wind. This mysterious man is trying to track down all Julian’s work in order to burn them, while in the book Lain Coubert is the name of the Devil. What they find in the end, happens to be a tragic ending to a tragic love story…

The story paints a vivid picture of post Civil war (1945) under the dictatorship of Franco. Zafón’s beloved Barcelona is evident in his descriptions of the beautiful city, the streets, the gothic quarter and the atmosphere and solitude of the Spanish people after the war.  The book I find was deeply engrossing and entertaining –  filled with mystery, fear, hatred, love, compassion and friendship. I found Daniel’s determination to find out the truth about what happened with Julian inspiring and Fermin was an absolute delight . He is funniest character in the book, or any other book I’ve read. What I loved most about the story is that it’s a book about a book!

La Sombra Del Viento (Spanish title) has been translated into English by Lucia Graves.

Some memorable quotes from the book:

“Someone once said that the moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you’ve already stopped loving that person forever”

“Paris is the only city in the world where starving to death is still considered an art”

I read a lot of books, and so far this is the one I’ve enjoyed reading the most. In fact, I’ve read this novel twice already and I might just read it again. Why? Because…

 “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 place 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.” {The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón}

Rating: ★★★★★

Further reading: Sypnosis and Reviews {from his official website}

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