Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Originally published Barcelona, Spain 2001
English Translation Published Penguin 2004
Author Website (Spanish) Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Book Website Shadow of the Wind in Spanish

As I mentioned yesterday, I purchased this book off a sale table. I spent the entire weekend reading it, (and finished it this evening around 11pm) because I could not put it down (despite my eyes still being wonky).

Daniel lives in Barcelona with his father who owns a bookshop. Daniel is 10 years old, and he finds a novel called Shadow of the Wind written by Julian Carax, that he falls in love with. Daniel decides he wants to read everything else the author wrote, but when he starts looking, he discovers that someone is systematically buying up all the copies and destroying them.

Even at age 10, Daniel discovers a need, an urge, to find out who is destroying these books, and why. He learns about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books (OT sort of reminds me of the Well of Lost Plots - Jasper fforde Book 3 in the Thursday Next series - which is constantly beckoning me to read it - but as yet it does not fall within a challenge - sigh). The Cemetery is run by Isaac. Isaac tells Daniel the following.

This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it, and of those who read it, lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.
(Page 6 in my edition).

I LOVE this quote. I think it is so true.

Daniel takes 10 years to find out why these books are being destroyed, and by whom. Along the way he makes new friends, as well as enemies. He discoveres shocking secrets, and falls in love - twice. But always, always he is looking for Julian (the author).

I am making this book the first one for the Books around the World Challenge, so I have 12 months to read 25 more books from various parts of the World.


heather (errantdreams) said...

This sounds absolutely lovely. Onto the massive wish list it goes! (*sob*)

Red Room Librarian said...

This is a fabulous book. I couldn't put it down. I literally read it while I walked the dog! It's a wonderful example of the modern gothic tale. I also really wanted to go to Barcelona after I read this.

Read The Thirteenth Tale if you liked this one. It's sort of about books, too, and it has the same lusciously creepy atmosphere and interesting characters.

Wendy said...

Glad you liked this - I did too! It compares to The Thirteenth Tale - if you haven't read that one, you should!!

Marg said...

I loved this when I read it as well! I am really hoping that we get another book from this author sooner rather than later.

Carla Nikol said...

I too loved this book. I work in a bookstore and love, love, love books about books, books about words, books about the writers that write them, I'm obsessed I guess you can say. Maybe I should be a librarian? Anyhoo, I plan on joining your book challenge on books about books and will love every minute of it. Thanks for taking the time to start it up...