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The shadow of the wind — book review

12 January 2012

The Shadow of the WindThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A bookseller takes his ten-year-old son to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in Barcelona in 1945, where he is allowed to choose one book. The book he chooses is The shadow of the wind by an almost unknown novelist, Julian Carax.

The boy reads the book and enjoys it, and tries to find other books by the same author, but they are impossible to find, and he soon discovers that others are interested in his book, and he is made several lucrative offers, one from a person named after one of the characters in the book. He refuses them all.

As he grows up, he becomes more interested in solving the mystery of the book, and what happened to its author, and it soon becomes apparent that such a quest is dangerous, and that there are powerful people and forces intent on stopping him.

To say more would be a spoiler, and it is otherwise difficult to describe this book: a literary detective story, a tale of star-crossed lovers, a fantasy novel, an adventure-thriller. It’s a cross between Romeo and Juliet, The Eyre affair and the film Pan’s labyrinth, and more besides. At times, with the description of encounters with the police of the Franco era in Spain, it felt familiar, like the old apartheid South Africa, with echoes of A dry white season.

A very good read indeed. I recommend it.

View all my reviews

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 12 January 2012 8:44 am

    Ahhh one of my favourite books! Glad to hear about somebody else liking it so much! If you liked this one, you should read the book he followed it up with, The Angel’s Game. Very similar in style, also set in Barcelona but a couple of decades earlier if my memory serves me correct. Equally as good, I would say! (Also, The Angel’s Game apparently broke the record for the fastest ever selling book by a Spanish author in Spain – so he’s doing something right!)

  2. 12 January 2012 12:14 pm

    I completely fell in love with this book and have lent it to everyone I know. In contrast though, I was so disappointed by his follow up book “The Angel’s Game”.

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