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NOVEMBER 2, 2011
Shadow of the Wind ~ Carlos Ruiz-Zafon
comments by CarolK
Several of my GoodReads friends really loved Shadow of the Wind. Paul and Helen nudged me to move it up on my list and I can't thank them enough for this. I have just spent the last week reading one of the most engaging novels that I've read this past year. Watch out everyone. I'm going to badger you until you read it too.
Shadow of the Wind is a bit of a humbling experience; I'm truly not certain I can do it justice. If you're a book lover, someone who loves to read, who appreciates stories with realistic characters and vivid locales, put Shadow on your list.
Shadow of the Wind is a book to cherish. It has it all. It's a heart wrenching love story, intricate mystery, rollicking adventure, and though serious, laugh out loud funny at times. Talk about characters that you come to know and love. Shadow possesses some of the absolute best. These include the main character Daniel, his side-kick, the down and out homeless, Fermin Romero de Torres, an incredibly brutal and evil cop, Chief Inspector Francisco Javier Fumero, some very beautiful and sexy women, and a whole cast of others that come to life on these pages.
Told over a span of many years, much of the action takes place in post-second world war Barcelona. On Daniel's eleventh birthday to his horror he can no longer picture his deceased mothers face. In an attempt to make the day special his father, a book store owner, brings Daniel to a magical place, The Cemetery of Forgotten Books and encourages Daniel to choose one book from this repository for the cast off books of the world. Daniel's selection, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julian Carax captures his boyhood imagination and undying admiration. He can't wait to get his hands on more by this author. Daniel soon learns that Carax has disappeared and his books are just as elusive as the author. Early on he discovers someone has been searching for and destroying all Carax's works. The mystery behind author and works becomes an obsession that will haunt and play a part in Daniel's life for years.
There are many beautiful descriptive passages throughout. I'll quote just one passage for us bibliophiles:
"Bea says the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day." Exquisite!
No more as they seem out of context or revealing to plot and in the end each reader finds his own favorite quotes. Suffice it to say, you're bound to find something that will remain with you here.
I had picked Shadow up over a year ago and initially wasn't certain I would like it. I had not given it time to absorb me into its plot. I didn't understand where this Cemetery of Forgotten Books was taking me or why I'd like to take the journey. So much in a story depends on mood and my level of concentration. This time out I was engrossed from the start and only wished I had more time to read to the finish. Stretching the book over a week's time was probably not a bad thing in the end as I savored the language and story as I read more slowly. I could easily read this again and will add it to my all time favorites list. Books, reading, telling stories, life and the lessons it teaches; Carlos Ruiz Zafon gets it right!