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Sombra do Vento, A by Carlos Ruiz…

Sombra do Vento, A (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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19,90577781 (4.12)1073
Title:Sombra do Vento, A
Authors:Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Info:ORION, 2004
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2001)

Recently added bysarahmarcus, ikbeninge, LeHolt, private library, mysticrose29, deedee1501, KWharton, JoanneVTS
  1. 247
    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.
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    GodOfTheAnthill: Both mystery novels with a similar tone and atmosphere
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  4. 70
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  6. 81
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  7. 50
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    bookmomo: If you want to read more (and better!) about the love of books and reading
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  10. 30
    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)
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» See also 1073 mentions

English (664)  Dutch (28)  Spanish (21)  French (17)  Italian (15)  German (10)  Catalan (7)  All (4)  Swedish (4)  Finnish (4)  Portuguese (2)  Danish (2)  All (1)  Hungarian (1)  All (780)
Showing 1-5 of 664 (next | show all)
A wonderful book. Set in Barcelona under Franco's rule, this is by turns a gothic melodrama, a love story, a detective story and a horror story. Shades of Poe stalk the pages but the voice is truly the author's own. The story of Daniel who, when his father takes him to the Cemetary of Forgotten Books, chooses a novel by an unknown author called Julian Carax - The Shadow of The Wind.

Thus begins Daniel's fascination with this mysterious, unheralded writer and he begins to piece together Carax's past and a tragic tale is slowly revealed. And Daniel's own life begins to mirror that of Carax and he finds himself stalked by the venomous Inspector Fumero, who holds a fierce hatred for the supposedly dead writer.

The tale spans 40 years or more and reveals itself slowly. It is beautifully translated from the original Spanish and is a pleasure to read. Highly recommended!!! ( )
1 vote David.Manns | Nov 28, 2016 |
Some of the best writing in the genre. A little slow at times? Perhaps. Still worthwhile.
  LeonardGMokos | Nov 22, 2016 |
-- What's it about? --

1945. At the tender age of 10, motherless Daniel Sempere is taken by his father to the 'Cemetery of Lost Books' in Barcelona, an archive of titles which would otherwise be neglected and forgotten. Daniel is allowed to choose one book to take home with him, to guard and treasure for the rest of his life.

As befits a 10 year old, he takes this bequest incredibly seriously, falling in love with the book he chooses - 'The Shadow of the Wind' by Julian Carax - and refusing to part with it, even when it seems that he may be in danger as a direct consequence.

As Daniel grows older and begins to learn about love and life, his fascination with the mysterious author and his life grows. What is the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax? Who is burning all his books? Daniel's obsession may cost him all he holds dear - or it may be the saving and making of him.

-- What's it like? --

Literary with deeply gothic overtones. It's a historical romance set within and after Barcelona's civil war, featuring a cast of characters whose destinies are fatefully entwined. Its by turns almost mythical, magical and even verges on farce where one particular character (Fermin Romero de Torres) is concerned.

I loved this for the intensely evoked atmosphere and the beautiful language. So we learn that:

'Barcelo signalled to a waiter of such remarkable decrepitude that he looked as if he should be declared a national landmark.'

The book Daniel becomes so obsessed with is introduced with the following damning statement:

'The blurb, written in the mouldy, pompous style of the age, proclaimed that this was a first work of dazzling courage, the mark of a trailblazing and protean talent, and a milestone for the entire future of European letters. In spite of such solemn claims, the synopsis that followed suggested that the story contained some vaguely sinister elements slowly marinated in saucy melodrama'.

Marinated. Saucy. Melodrama. Love it.

Of course, not all readers enjoy prolix prose and so some may find the constant elevation of every detail ultimately off-putting. This final quotation, for instance, could seem overdone:

'On the other side of the wall, Sophie slowly faded away, her life shipwrecked on a sea of disappointment, isolation and guilt.'


-- Tell me more --

Well there's a villain so sinister he's practically the devil - the extraordinarily malevolent Inspector Fumero, a spider who has climbed to success on the backs of a veritable avalanche of corpses he created - and another villain who claims to be the devil (or, at least, to be Carax's version of him).

There's an entertaining supporting cast of minor characters, including, but by no means limited to: the elderly citizen of a retirement home who demands payment for information in the form of a firm, young prostitute; the music teacher who scores with all his young protégées; and the shopkeeper who likes to wear a dress and sing cabaret.

Then there's our young hero, Daniel, naive and often spectacularly thoughtless, falling in love in as startling and unfathomable a manner as Romeo and Juliet and almost suffering a similarly dark conclusion.

There's an interesting concept of destiny at work in this story. Various characters seem to simply accept that their lot in life is to suffer and to repeat the same futile interactions and mistakes. In a sense the whole story could be seen as a complex framing device to give Daniel a reason to grow up enough to decide to really take charge of his life.

I can't read Spanish so can't comment on the accuracy of the translation, but it feels excellent. Lucia Graves has captured the brooding sentiments of the author and the whole work flows beautifully. There are no awkward phrases or jarring moments.

-- So are there any flaws? --

Oh yes.

In a novel teeming with so many characters it may be that readers fail to be interested in a few of the more minor ones, leading them to skim relevant passages. Personally, I had little interest in the hatter, though I confess that he ultimately evolved into quite an interesting character.

More significantly, the perspective is sometimes a little "off". A significant chunk of the book is devoted to Nuria Monfort's perspective on events, which is fine...except that she frequently writes about scenes she was not privy to and, at points, exposes entire schemes which she must have been ignorant of. Whether we are meant to grant her imaginative licence or assume that her writings are being supplemented by our author's, it feels a little odd.

Finally, in a narrative largely devoid of trickery, I really disliked Daniel suddenly telling us that:

'In seven days' time, I would be dead.'

Was this novel about to become truly supernatural? Was it actually being narrated by a ghost? Well, no, but I disliked the attempt to startle the reader into attention and the deliberate distortion of the actual events of seven days time. In a novel that otherwise relied so heavily on the pull of the story this felt like a tacky gimmick.

-- Final thoughts --

If you enjoy slow-paced stories packed with a range of mildly odd characters and spiced with historical sadness, then this will be perfect reading for you.

The brutal aftermath of the civil war is chillingly evoked:

'In those days I learned that nothing is more frightening than a hero who has lived to tell his story, to tell what all those who fell at his side will never be able to tell...When peace finally came, it was the sort of peace that haunts prisons and cemeteries, a shroud of silence and shame that rots the soul.'

Read it for the language, the atmosphere and the insight into Barcelona in the 50s.

Forgive it the melodrama inherent in the concept of young-couple-madly-in-love-despite-severe-familial-opposition.

Remember it for the sense of a young man taking charge of his destiny. ( )
1 vote brokenangelkisses | Nov 10, 2016 |
I am half way through this book and I am so bored I cannot finish. ( )
  shesinplainview | Nov 7, 2016 |
Completely absorbing. Has a Gothic Lit feel in the author's prolific use of symbols and in the characters' acceptance of mysticism and human monsters. I was pleased that I was unable to completely solve the plot's central mystery before it was revealed. The story is so complex that I don't even remember all the details, but I keep hoping the book club will pick the sequel to read sometime soon. ( )
  trwm | Oct 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 664 (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 (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ruiz Zafón, Carlosprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Geel, NellekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, LuciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Härkönen, TarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwaar, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sezzi, LiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Has the (non-series) sequel

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Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Joan Ramón 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.
Sometimes what matters isn't what one gives but what one gives up.

Paris requires more than two days. It won't listen to reason.

Age — the price we all must pay.

Army, Marriage, the Church, and Banking: the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse.
"Every book, every volume you see here has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it."
His mouth was glued to a half-smoked cigar that seemed to grow out of his mustache. It was hard to tell whether he was asleep or awake, because he breathed like most people snore.
When a library disappears, or a book shop closes down, when a book is consigned to oblivion, those of us who know this place, its guardians, make sure that it gets here. In this place, books no longer remembered by anyone, books that are lost in time, live forever, waiting for the day when they will reach a new reader's hands. In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been someone's best friend. Now they have only us, Daniel.
"[W]e exist as long as somebody remembers us."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143034901, Paperback)

"Gabriel García Márquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges for a sprawling magic show." --The New York Times Book Review

A New York Times Bestseller

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

“ Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind. Really, you should.” --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"Wonderous... masterful... The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero." --Entertainment Weekly (Editor's Choice)

"One gorgeous read." --Stephen King

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:43 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 19 descriptions

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