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The Shadow of the Wind (2001)

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
23,49392096 (4.12)1206
A boy named Daniel selects a novel from a library of rare books, enjoying it so much that he searches for the rest of the author's works, only to discover that someone is destroying every book the author has ever written. Barcelona, 1945-just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel's father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax's work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn't find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly. As with all astounding novels, The Shadow of the Wind sends the mind groping for comparisons- The Crimson Petal and the White? The novels of Arturo Peacute-Reverte? Of Victor Hugo? Love in the Time of Cholera ?-but in the end, as with all astounding novels, no comparison can suffice. As one leading Spanish reviewer wrote, ldquo. The originality of Ruiz Zafoacute's voice is bombproof and displays a diabolical talent. The Shadow of the Wind announces a phenomenon in Spanish literature. An uncannily absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books, The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storyteller's art.… (more)
  1. 277
    The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (phoenix7g, orange_epsilon)
    orange_epsilon: Prequel to The Shadow of the Wind set in Barcelona in the 1920s and 1930s. If you enjoyed the first one, you should give this one a try.
  2. 173
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (rmjp518, starfishian, elizabeth.a.coates)
    elizabeth.a.coates: Both centre around books/literature, both are eloquently written, both have an element of mystery
  3. 206
    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (robynlinden, GodOfTheAnthill)
    GodOfTheAnthill: Both mystery novels with a similar tone and atmosphere
  4. 91
    People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (susiesharp, BookshelfMonstrosity)
  5. 80
    The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (guurtjesboekenkast)
  6. 70
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (derelicious)
  7. 50
    The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (jhedlund, phoenix7g, Cecilturtle)
    phoenix7g: Mystery and books.
  8. 50
    The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: If you want to read more (and better!) about the love of books and reading
  9. 40
    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Although they have very different settings (1950s Spain in Shadow of the Wind and modern San Francisco in Mr. Penumbra's), these adventure stories, with underpinnings of romance, offer unique perspectives on the role of books and reading in our lives.… (more)
  10. 40
    The Little Book by Selden Edwards (Othemts)
  11. 30
    Stoner by John Williams (vivas)
    vivas: Libro excepcional,escrito de forma sencilla,culta y facil de entender
  12. 63
    Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (missmaddie)
  13. 42
    The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell (sweetiegherkin)
    sweetiegherkin: The mystery contained in a book is at the heart of both these thrillers.
  14. 31
    The Book on Fire by Keith Miller (infiniteletters)
  15. 20
    A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson (ehines)
  16. 10
    Night Film by Marisha Pessl (Sammiwithani)
  17. 10
    The City of Marvels by Eduardo Mendoza (caflores)
  18. 10
    Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas (caflores)
  19. 10
    The Calligrapher's Secret by Rafik Schami (spiphany)
  20. 00
    The Magus by John Fowles (ainsleytewce)

(see all 32 recommendations)


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» See also 1206 mentions

English (784)  Dutch (29)  Spanish (26)  Italian (19)  French (19)  German (12)  Catalan (8)  Finnish (4)  Portuguese (Portugal) (4)  Swedish (4)  Danish (3)  Portuguese (2)  Arabic (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (918)
Showing 1-5 of 784 (next | show all)
This 2001 novel set in Barcelona after the civil war is apparently the most successful novel in Spanish publishing history since Don Quixote. It rather defies easy categorisation, being part historical fiction, part thriller/mystery, part gothic mystery, and part love story. I enjoyed it overall, but I did think it lost its way a bit after the strong initial establishing of the basic mystery around the wonderful concept of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where ten year old Daniel chooses a book which will affect his whole life. I found the story within a story realisation a little confusing at times. Overall, very well written and it probably deserves many of its accolades. I only realised after starting this that the author had died of cancer aged only 55 a week or so before I bought the book. ( )
  john257hopper | Jul 5, 2020 |
Wow! This is why I read.

Shadow of the Wind is a book about books, writers, love and hate, men and women, life and death, and the continuous battle between good and evil.

Zafon has a flair for both; creating dramatic scenes and the ability to capturie quiet introspective moments of deep emotions. Most of the action takes place in Barcelona in the middle of the 20th Century. Men were kings of their homes making all decisions, keeping women at home and dependent.

Young Daniel chooses a book from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and a Pandora's Box of excitement, trouble, confusion explodes open.

Excellent literary read.
  Bookish59 | Jul 4, 2020 |
This book is a perfect example of a reading problem I have. I much prefer reading a book versus my kindle. I tried this book earlier this year on my kindle and couldn't get into it at all. Then I read it as a book and couldn't put it down.

This is an old fashioned novel with a great plot, great subplots and great character development. There are 3 more books by this author in this series and I plan on reading them. ( )
  kayanelson | Jul 4, 2020 |
Fun read, delightfully weird, beautiful writing. Zafon did reveal his affinity for writing for young people, I think, because this tale reminded me so much of Harry Potter. The book the protagonist finds is like Harry's wand. Love the characters and the dignity afforded characters who live on the fringe of society. ( )
  MMKY | Jul 3, 2020 |
Daniel Sempere was ten years old in 1945 when his father, a bookseller, took him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in their home city of Barcelona, Spain. A place known only to a select few, the tradition was that on his first visit, the visitor would find a book that would be "his." He would, from then on, have to ensure the book never disappeared, for that was the mission of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. It was place to rescue unwanted books, those discarded from libraries and liquidated from book stores. Daniel selects The Shadow of the Wind, by Julian Carax.

Once grown, Daniel is drawn into pursuing the mystery of Carax, supposedly killed in Barcelona at the start of the civil war. But when he investigates this unknown author, he finds out that his is the last surviving copy, as a mysterious figure called Laín Coubert has dedicated himself to eradicating Carax's work completely. But in Carax's book, Laín Coubert is the name of the Devil. Compelled to learn more, Daniel incurs the wrath of a terrible enemy, a sadistic policeman with secrets of his own. There are so many wonderful and intriguing characters in this book but the most unique has to be Fermin, a beggar who claims to have been a secret agent. This book is like a Russian nesting doll in that you keep finding more and more hidden inside.

This novel is beautifully written and will transport you to Barcelona. I don't ever recall highlighting so many passages to reread again later in any other book I've read. The story is wonderfully complex and the characters are beautifully flawed. It's not a book to rush through but more to savor a bit at a time. This book is not for everyone but if you're looking for something a bit different that will stay with you long after you've finished, I highly recommend Shadow of the Wind.

( )
  Olivermagnus | Jul 2, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 784 (next | show all)
It's lowdown and lazy, but here goes: ''Gabriel García Márquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges'' for a sprawling magic show, exasperatingly tricky and mostly wonderful, by the Spanish novelist Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The three illustrious meeters must surely have been drinking and they weave about a little, but steady remarkably as the pages go by.
Als een boekverkoper zijn tienjarige zoon meeneemt naar het paleisachtige, geheimzinnige Kerkhof der Vergeten Boeken, raakt Daniel betoverd door De schaduw van de wind. Hij neemt zich voor achter de identiteit van de schrijver Julian Carax te komen. Sterker nog: hij lijkt het leven van deze mysterieuze man te gaan leven. Tegen de achtergrond van het Barcelona van de Burgeroorlog en Franco ontrolt zich een fascinerend verhaal, of feitelijk vele verhalen over figuren die zich in de nabijheid van Carax ophielden én mensen rondom Daniel. De structuur van het verhaal is als een Russische pop, die eindeloos veel kleinere poppen in zich heeft verstopt. Carlos Ruiz Zafon (1964) heeft een fantasierijke, knappe roman geschreven vol avontuur, spanning, en liefde, die je in één adem uitleest. Zijn taalgebruik is prachtig, zijn belezenheid groot en de vertaling is vloeiend. Velen zullen van deze onderhoudende, intelligente roman genieten.
added by Liyanna | editBiblion, Fieke Nugteren
The Shadow of the Wind is a dream date for those who love books.... For fans of Jorge Luis Borges, Umberto Eco and other writers who craft twisting and turning plots with complex characterization, The Shadow of the Wind is not to be missed.

» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carlos Ruiz Zafónprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geel, NellekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, LuciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Härkönen, TarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwaar, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sezzi, LiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Joan Ramon Planas, who deserves better
First words
I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time.
In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner.
He would have liked to know that somebody wanted to keep him alive, that someone remembered him. He used to say that we exist as long as somebody remembers us.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Audio drama version; please don't combine with the book!
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