#NaNoWriMo: S is for…The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“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.”

– Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a stunning love letter to the written word. It is a book about books, or one book in particular that changes a little boys life forever. The Shadow of the Wind begins in 1945, a tumultuous time around the world and in Spain, the end of the civil war…

When Daniel Sempere is ten years old, his father takes him to a sacred place; below the streets of Barcelona is a labyrinth – a library – where some of the rarest tomes are preserved from oblivion. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books is a secret collection curated by a group of bibliophiles whose reverent love for books keeps them alive. Daniel is permitted to choose one book from the shelves and as he trails the never-ending rows, he comes across a book named ‘The Shadow of the Wind” by an obscure Spanish writer called Julián Carax. His decision to pull that particular book off the shelf has repercussions he could never have imagined…

The Shadow of the Wind is a dark and tortured story about love and loss. From the moment Daniel selects his book he is haunted by a shadowy figure, a man who leaves the scent of burnt paper in his wake. Daniel is drawn to the mystery surrounding his book and the man in the shadows. Who is he and what does he have to do with Carax’s books?

Barcelona provides the perfect gothic backdrop for this dark and melancholy tale. Zafón’s writing is lyrical and magical, bordering on supernatural. There are ghosts lurking around every corner; it is a tale of love lost, broken and destroyed. It is a tale of passion and obsession; Daniel’s life begins to mirror that of Carax as he gets closer to the truth of the arsonist and Carax himself. Women feature only as a destructive force for the men in the story. Their love, and subsequent heartbreak is the reason for such a dark tale but there is so much beauty in it too. Zafón’s descriptions are often quite lengthy however it is so easy to get lost in them; they are reminiscent of the long and winding streets of Barcelona, meandering and beautiful, allowing the reader to reach the destination in due course. Like most books it has its faults but it is so easy to get swept up in Zafón’s magic that you, dear reader, won’t notice them at all! A truly beautiful story!

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One thought on “#NaNoWriMo: S is for…The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

  1. This sounds interesting. I started reading his book ‘Marina’ a while back, but wasn’t really into it. Nothing to do with the story, just a bit of an ‘off’ phase when it came to books. Might be time to try again, I think!

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