"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
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
It’s easy to understand why former YA author Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s first novel for grownups became one of Spain’s biggest-selling novels ever. Set in post-Spanish Civil War Barcelona, it’s the story of Daniel, a boy who becomes so obsessed with an obscure, mysterious book that he’s drawn into the tragic backstory of its author. Zafón’s sophisticated story-within-a-story turns a wondrous coming-of-age narrative into an exploration of love, war, and the meaning of art. His thrillingly poetic style is full of magic and darkness.
Ruiz Zaf n's novel, a bestseller in his native Spain, takes the satanic touches from Angel Heart and stirs them into a bookish intrigue la Foucault's Pendulum. The time is the 1950s; the place, Barcelona. Daniel Sempere, the son of a widowed bookstore owner, is 10 when he discovers a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Juli n Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax's novels. The man calls himself La n Coubert the name of the devil in one of Carax's novels. As he grows up, Daniel's fascination with the mysterious Carax links him to a blind femme fatale with a "porcelain gaze," Clara Barcel ; another fan, a leftist jack-of-all-trades, Ferm n Romero de Torres; his best friend's sister, the delectable Beatriz Aguilar; and, as he begins investigating the life and death of Carax, a cast of characters with secrets to hide. Officially, Carax's dead body was dumped in an alley in 1936. But discrepancies in this story surface. Meanwhile, Daniel and Ferm n are being harried by a sadistic policeman, Carax's childhood friend. As Daniel's quest continues, frightening parallels between his own life and Carax's begin to emerge. Ruiz Zaf n strives for a literary tone, and no scene goes by without its complement of florid, cute and inexact similes and metaphors (snow is "God's dandruff"; servants obey orders with "the efficiency and submissiveness of a body of well-trained insects"). Yet the colorful cast of characters, the gothic turns and the straining for effect only give the book the feel of para-literature or the Hollywood version of a great 19th-century novel.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Stick with it
Honestly started to hate it at about 500 pages in, but really glad I stuck with it. You will be too. Question your expectations of it, let the words flow over you, and just enjoy the ride.
A master of storytelling
The first in the related four books is told with Zafon’s elevated imagination and gifts for imagery. Perhaps due to the earlier part of Franco’s repressive regime, it is far more grim and Barcelona’s underbelly is ever present throughout. This is the introduction of the key characters, told within the context of various enduring but tragic loves that can never be reconciled or fulfilled.
One of those books that when you’re reading it your annoyed by the life that interrupts you. All I wanted to do was read, and when I realized I was too sleepy, I’d sleep, then start that chapter again. Excellent writing and characters, and wonderful story.