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Search tags: The-Shadow-of-the-Wind
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review 2017-12-26 20:42
We can learn from books...even forgotten ones!
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Occasionally it can fun to take a punt on an ‘unknown’ book, from a public library, charity shop or friend’s shelf, but when such a lottery yields an unexpected pearl it can be all the more rewarding. ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ was one such absorbing read, by an author (Carlos Ruiz Zafόn) unfamiliar to me, but this story is made all the more intriguing by its draw on several genres. Set in post-civil war Barcelona, there are elements of historical drama, echoes of gothic mystery and romance, thriller and even comedic moments. It’s a heady cocktail, yet the layering of the narrative is so expertly written that the reader is skilfully drawn into the complex lives of the interconnected characters. Central among them is Daniel, who, aged ten, is introduced to the strange ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’, where he is fated to choose ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ written by Julian Carax.


“…few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart…”and so it proves for Daniel, as his ownership of the rare book triggers his curiosity about the mysterious author and burgeons into an ardent adult need to solve the puzzle that is Carax.


Along the way, Daniel’s relationships with his father, friends, neighbours and those close to Carax offer vivid insight into the dark days of Franco’s Spain. None more so than a vagrant, the ebullient Fermin Romero de Torres, who befriends Daniel and though exposing him to the unwanted attention of his former police torturer (Inspector Fumero), also protects Daniel and infuses him with a romantic verve for life. By contrast, a rather sinister character disfigured by fire is also lurking, bent on relieving Daniel of his book. Peril it seems is never far away.


Still, notwithstanding the well-defined Spanish social strata and the distribution of power across wealth, family and state lines, Daniel navigates a courageous path, which challenges the status quo and unashamedly asserts the capacity of love to breach such man-made boundaries.


The various strands of the plot are woven together seamlessly to create a highly satisfying whole and Zafόn’s attention to the detail of his creation ensures there are no ‘loose ends’, which I rather liked. All in all a very entertaining read, though as Mr Carax suggests, “Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” I hope not.


As an aside, this novel was translated into English by Lucia Graves, daughter of Robert Graves, whose books about Emperor Claudius are among my earlier reviews. However, we should acknowledge that the quality of Ms Graves work has ensured that this novel seems to lose little in translation.

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review 2017-04-24 18:46
Recommended read gone wrong
The Shadow of the Wind - Lucia Graves,Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Couldn't finish it. I don't think I even made it 1/4 of the way through. was turned off by the explicit sexual scenes especially considering the first involved an 11 year old. They felt gratuitous and unnecessary.

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quote 2016-09-17 21:22
I was raised among books , making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast from dust and whose smell I carry on hands to this day.
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text 2016-02-27 21:18
Book Haul
The Shadow of the Wind - Lucia Graves,Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafón,Lucia Graves
Paris: The Novel - Edward Rutherfurd
The Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher
Coming Home - Rosamunde Pilcher
Winter Solstice - Rosamunde Pilcher
The Snow Leopard Of Shanghai - Erin Pizzey

One of my best friends and a fellow avid reader is in the hospital. My grandmother comes out (she's in a rehab center for now)  and my friend goes in. Sigh. Today my friend asked me for a book recommendation. So off to the book store I went, where I picked up Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, a flower coloring book and Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores for her.

 

While there,  I wandered into the used book section and picked out some books in the hope they will bring me out of my reading slump - a slump I do think is due to life's stress.

 

I'm so glad I got the Pilcher books, you really lose yourself in them. I want to read all of them at once.

 

I read The Shadow of the Wind yeeeeaars ago and all I remember is that it was beautiful and I loved it. Impulsively,  I also grabbed the sequel.

 

Been eyeing Paris for quite some time.

 

For now, I'm reading Coming Home because it's the first book a in bit I don't pick up, sigh and just put down. 

 

Happy reading!

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review 2015-10-30 15:36
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

While the writing (or the translation, at least) is certainly evocative, perhaps among the best passages that I have ever read, I still feel somewhat cheated. I had wrongly assumed that the Cemetery of Forgotten Books would take a more central role in the plot. I am, after all, a sucker for books about libraries and bookshops, and the blurb says that there's an *entire cemetery of forgotten books*? Count me in! But to my disappointment, the cemetery only figured in setting up the novel, for it was where the protagonist found 'The Shadow of the Wind', the book that gradually became his obsession.

 

Still, to be fair, the writing is certainly great, containing numerous passages that left lingering images in my mind. The plot is a slow uncovering of the mystery of the book (The Shadow of the Wind) and its author, and flashbacks are used to this end. But the fact that I made slow progress with this real book (due to real life), made it hard for me to keep track of the many twists and turns that occurred at different times in the story.

 

You definitely have to read this if you appreciate good writing and prefer a mix of mystery and romance in your books, but make sure you set aside sufficient time to complete its approximately 500 pages in a short amount of time!

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