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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
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The Shadow of the Wind (original 2001; edition 2005)

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
18,25670594 (4.13)973
Member:gps24
Title:The Shadow of the Wind
Authors:Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Other authors:Lucia Graves (Translator)
Info:Penguin Books (2005), Paperback, 487 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

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

  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.
  2. 185
    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (robynlinden, GodOfTheAnthill)
    GodOfTheAnthill: Both mystery novels with a similar tone and atmosphere
  3. 163
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (rmjp518, starfishian, elizabeth.a.coates)
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  4. 70
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  5. 71
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  6. 60
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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
  8. 50
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    phoenix7g: Mystery and books.
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(see all 26 recommendations)

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» See also 973 mentions

English (589)  Dutch (26)  Spanish (23)  French (17)  Italian (14)  German (10)  Catalan (7)  Portuguese (Portugal) (4)  Swedish (4)  Finnish (4)  Portuguese (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (704)
Showing 1-5 of 589 (next | show all)
I closed this book quietly, to just sit still for a moment and let all of the words and story wash over me until it settles softly in my thoughts. This is a difficult book to review because I could have given this book five stars. Could have, being the key words.

But I can't. Because I have too many problems with it. But ah, this book with its dark plot in shadows and the air of the femme fatale in Barcelona and the heart of a writer's soul written in black, flowing ink from a pen that might have been Victor Hugo's very own... this book... I almost don't want to talk about its problems. I just want to let words drip from the very marrow of my bones to somehow capture the feeling of the book, the colors of the words, even though anyone can see that this book was written in black ink.

That is why I loved the book. Because moments spoke to a reader's heart. This book is meant for people who love words and understand the intimate feeling of when a book is able to reflect the shadows of your heart that you might not have even realized was lingering there.

But here is where I pause and just shake my head. Because it didn't last. And that is why I couldn't give this book five stars. Because I had too many problems with the structure of the book. I am not sure if it's because it is a translation and perhaps the original language would have embraced me to its full capacity, but I could not stand the unveiling of the story.

I really did not like how most of the story told by a character reciting their story and past. It made for rather strange and awkward jumps in first person to third person narrative. It was particularly annoying because I would be caught up in this magnificent and tortuous story and then I realize that the person telling the story should have no way of knowing how another character thought. They would tell the story in first person, but share something that seemed more third person omniscient. That might sound really nit-picky, but it bothered me to the extent that I couldn't fully immerse myself into the story.

Another problem with this format of story-telling was that it was dialogue. Or should have been, if the person was telling his or her story to Daniel. But the sentences never sounded like anything a person might say. It was very much so a written sentence, not dialogue. These two points completely threw me out of the head space of the book and made me too aware that I was reading instead of feeling like I was in the character's shoes waiting to know what would happen next.

And then once I was out of the feeling of the book, I started thinking about how annoyed I was of love in this book. See? I was perfectly fine when I was feeling the character's passion and blah blah blah. But not really. How can you expect me to believe that Daniel "loves" Bea? There is nothing to confirm it. He goes from "love" for Clara to lust for Nuria, and then straight into soulmate-forever-and-beyond-and-maybe-idiocy-too for Bea. I just don't get it. I'm all for love and passion, but I wanted to see it beyond obsession. That was my major problem with love in this entire book. You can probably exchange the word "love" with "obsession" and not change anything. Was Julius and Penelope's feelings anything but obsession? Or Nuria and Julius? I am just not convinced at all.
But see here? If I don't think about it too much, I could probably let this quibble on "what is love" slide because the characters's emotional reaction are all very realistic. (It's just I don't believe the basis for their emotion, if that makes sense.)

Ah, there are just so many too-coincidental parallels too, when I start nitpicking. Discovering Julius and Penelope's love as Daniel figures out there's something with him and Bea. The silly thing with the pen. Whatever. I don't feel like nitpicking right now.

This book made me fall in love with Barcelona. To dream of wanderlust and walk the streets until I find old bookstores. I might not believe the characters in love, but I fell in love, a little bit.

This was a lovely book and I can see why people loved it enough to give it five stars and wax poetic about it. But I just can't reconcile the structure of the book's format. So three stars it is. In some ways, it could have been five, and in others, it would have been a two. So it ends up about a three. ( )
1 vote NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
I closed this book quietly, to just sit still for a moment and let all of the words and story wash over me until it settles softly in my thoughts. This is a difficult book to review because I could have given this book five stars. Could have, being the key words.

But I can't. Because I have too many problems with it. But ah, this book with its dark plot in shadows and the air of the femme fatale in Barcelona and the heart of a writer's soul written in black, flowing ink from a pen that might have been Victor Hugo's very own... this book... I almost don't want to talk about its problems. I just want to let words drip from the very marrow of my bones to somehow capture the feeling of the book, the colors of the words, even though anyone can see that this book was written in black ink.

That is why I loved the book. Because moments spoke to a reader's heart. This book is meant for people who love words and understand the intimate feeling of when a book is able to reflect the shadows of your heart that you might not have even realized was lingering there.

But here is where I pause and just shake my head. Because it didn't last. And that is why I couldn't give this book five stars. Because I had too many problems with the structure of the book. I am not sure if it's because it is a translation and perhaps the original language would have embraced me to its full capacity, but I could not stand the unveiling of the story.

I really did not like how most of the story told by a character reciting their story and past. It made for rather strange and awkward jumps in first person to third person narrative. It was particularly annoying because I would be caught up in this magnificent and tortuous story and then I realize that the person telling the story should have no way of knowing how another character thought. They would tell the story in first person, but share something that seemed more third person omniscient. That might sound really nit-picky, but it bothered me to the extent that I couldn't fully immerse myself into the story.

Another problem with this format of story-telling was that it was dialogue. Or should have been, if the person was telling his or her story to Daniel. But the sentences never sounded like anything a person might say. It was very much so a written sentence, not dialogue. These two points completely threw me out of the head space of the book and made me too aware that I was reading instead of feeling like I was in the character's shoes waiting to know what would happen next.

And then once I was out of the feeling of the book, I started thinking about how annoyed I was of love in this book. See? I was perfectly fine when I was feeling the character's passion and blah blah blah. But not really. How can you expect me to believe that Daniel "loves" Bea? There is nothing to confirm it. He goes from "love" for Clara to lust for Nuria, and then straight into soulmate-forever-and-beyond-and-maybe-idiocy-too for Bea. I just don't get it. I'm all for love and passion, but I wanted to see it beyond obsession. That was my major problem with love in this entire book. You can probably exchange the word "love" with "obsession" and not change anything. Was Julius and Penelope's feelings anything but obsession? Or Nuria and Julius? I am just not convinced at all.
But see here? If I don't think about it too much, I could probably let this quibble on "what is love" slide because the characters's emotional reaction are all very realistic. (It's just I don't believe the basis for their emotion, if that makes sense.)

Ah, there are just so many too-coincidental parallels too, when I start nitpicking. Discovering Julius and Penelope's love as Daniel figures out there's something with him and Bea. The silly thing with the pen. Whatever. I don't feel like nitpicking right now.

This book made me fall in love with Barcelona. To dream of wanderlust and walk the streets until I find old bookstores. I might not believe the characters in love, but I fell in love, a little bit.

This was a lovely book and I can see why people loved it enough to give it five stars and wax poetic about it. But I just can't reconcile the structure of the book's format. So three stars it is. In some ways, it could have been five, and in others, it would have been a two. So it ends up about a three. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
This is a wonderfully written novel that reads like a mystery,, but has enough magic realism in it that your are always wondering who is behind the scenes controlling the action. The first in a series, it speaks about a secret library and hidden books, all of which lead Daniel deeper into the narrative. Wonderful read and the sequel is also wonderful! ( )
  raynah-l | Sep 13, 2014 |
Daniel Sempere, an antiquarian book dealer’s son, is gifted a mysterious book authored by a Julián Carax, but when Daniel tries to find other books by Carax, it seems someone has made an effort to search out and destroy Carax's entire œuvre, and Daniel's search for the author will bring him to some of the darkest places in Barcelona where he meets some of the city's shiftiest characters. I wonder if Zafón was dared to make a book that was part mystery, part ghost story, part gothic fantasy, part political thriller, part historical novel, part romance, part travelogue, and topped off with a smear of magic realism, because this is has all those aspects between its covers. More likely, this is just Zafón's style of writing, and, if that is so, he is an author I will read a lot more of. The story itself is meandering, sometimes annoyingly so, but the end result is well worth it - I come away with not only a story, but a mood. Also, Zafón's descriptions of Barcelona are very evocative and I very much feel like I could step into the book and find myself standing on a foggy street full of shady characters skulking about. I've only read Marina from this author before, but already have The Angel's Game (and indeed The Prisoner of Heaven) waiting on Mt. TBR. ( )
  -Eva- | Sep 12, 2014 |
When Daniel Sempere is ten years old, his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time. There he must choose one book that calls to him, and it will be his job to protect it forever. Daniel chooses a novel called The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax, unaware that this simple decision will alter the entire course of his life. Daniel reads the book and loves it, so he tries to find other novels by Carax, only to discover that there are none. Someone is systematically destroying every copy of every book Julián Carax ever wrote, and he is calling himself Laín Coubert, one of Carax's names for the devil. As Daniel comes of age in mid-20th-century Barcelona, he makes it his mission to discover who is destroying Carax's books and why. His quest leads him to a long-buried secret involving friendship, passion, madness, and true love. But the more deeply Daniel digs into Carax's mysterious background, the more he discovers parallels to his own life, and the more danger he finds himself in.

This is one of those books that just didn't grab me, for some reason. I found myself able to put it down for days at a time, and when I finally did power through it, my mind kept wandering. But I don't quite understand why, becasue I honestly liked a lot of things about this book! First of all, I'm now dying to visit Barcelona because of the vivid descriptions of its streets, neighborhoods, and restaurants. I also enjoyed the almost Dickensian depictions of the secondary characters, like this one: "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." The plot is fairly melodramatic, but it's undeniably interesting and full of event. Maybe I was a bit put off by the staggering number of coincidences connecting Daniel's story to Carax's, or maybe I didn't like the portrayal of the female characters (who are basically nothing more than male fantasies). Ultimately, I just didn't connect that much to the story or characters, so it was an effort for me to finish the book.
  christina_reads | Sep 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 589 (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.
 
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 (42 possible)

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

Has the (non-series) sequel

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Important events
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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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 cosigned 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:39 -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)

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