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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves Shadow of the Wind is an enchanting and romantic story of Dickensian proportions that depicts a complex story populated with intriguing places, strange characters and complex details. The setting is Barcelona, Spain from 1945 to 1956 with flashbacks to the turn of the century. It's a complex virtual world of lights, shadows, beauty, mystery, and dangerous allure. As the mystery to be solved is developed in the story it becomes apparent to the reader that there are many ominous parallels between the young protagonist's life and that of the story of the past that he is investigating. Will history repeat itself? And at the very end the story comes full circle to an endearing end.

Now for the down side. The narration is a bit over the top for me. One really needs to have a romantic heart to appreciated this story. I guess I'm getting too old to be carried away by this story. There's a bit too much unrealistic falling in love at first sight for my tastes. The story pivots on the existence of a place call the "cemetery of forgotten books," which rings of too much fantasy for my ears. There's one character in the story that shows too much machismo and braggadocio concerning his male virility. It's always night time when something sinister is happening, it's raining when something scary is about to happen, and in the end it's snowing when there's an ethereal epiphany of insight into the mystery. I acknowledge that it's skillfully structured writing, but it just didn't carry me away.

The book was originally written in Spanish, and has been translated into many different languages. I listened to the English translation. The following is the review of the book from my PageADay calendar.

Mysterious Doings
The Shadow of the Wind is a word-of-mouth darling among avid readers. It appeals to book lovers in part because it is about books—one volume in particular that a rare-book dealer in 1950s Barcelona finds and that acts as gateway to an adrenaline-pumping mystery. Gothic atmosphere and eccentric characters in a ripping good plot lead to a book that is compelling and easy to recommend to friends.
THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Penguin, 2005)

Here's another review from the 2012 calendar:
A massive bestseller in Carlas Ruiz Zafón’s native Spain, this multilayered thriller stars a young bibliophile who becomes involved in a novel from the past, the copies of which have all been stolen or burned by a mysterious man with a limp. Complex and richly detailed, it will keep you guessing—and quickly turning pages. “Superbly entertaining … scary, erotic, touching, tragic, thrilling,” says The Washington Post.
THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Penguin, 2005)