Book Review: Shadow of the Wind

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Set in Barcelona just after the second world war, the novel begins in the cemetery of forgotten books, where Daniel, the young protagonist, eyes the spines of thousands of books in an effort to restore one abandoned title to its rightful reader. He selects Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax. Instantly, Daniel is thrust into a mysterious plot spiral, where he is pursued by a mirage-like, disfigured individual who is after the book he refuses to let go of.

Complete with unrequited adolescent love; floundering fisticuffs and outright violence; mansions in disrepair; an array of complex characters (the most endearing of which is, Fermín Romero de Torres, a tawdry transient whom Daniel befriends and who then comes to work in his father's bookshop); familial relationships and the never too trifle theme of enduring love.


I loved this book because it was really a novel for bibliophiles. (We'll be discussing it tonight at book club.*) In addition, there's something immensely rewarding with a book coming full circle as it wraps up the story line. It's a wonder that such a gem escaped me all these years. But now that I've read it...I can't recommend it enough.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

*Especially interested to discuss Zafon's schizophrenic depiction of women characters throughout his novel.



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