bookrev: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
From one author to another: a terrific story
I was reading this novel just as I was putting the finishing touches on my own first book; Senor Zafon’s characterizations and scene descriptions encouraged and discouraged me at the same moment: encouraged because I was reminded that authors can put pictures into people’s minds, pictures so vivid that the author’s world becomes real; discouraged because he showed me what a long way to go I have as an author (and I wasn’t even reading it in the native Spanish! The translation was by Lucia Graves).
Daniel Sempre, son of a bookstore owner, finds a mysterious book, The Shadow of The Wind, in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. He tries to find other books by its author, Julian Carax, but is told that they are hide to find, due to a mysterious collector who buys them all and burns them. Sempre and his friends dive deep into the mystery that is Carax and the collector, trying to determine what is real and what is fantasy.
The places, like the library and the mansion, are so well described in the text that they become visible to the reader. The main characters respect for his father, for the books, and his longing for the women in his life, was incredibly well described and laid out.
And the plot yanks you in. I was reading this on a beautiful beach in Greece, and it continually brought me away from that reality into it’s own world. I had to pass it to my wife and my son to read, and they also devoured it on the same vacation. It is that kind of read, the kind that you cannot put down no matter where you are.
I eagerly search the Internet for news of Senor Zafon’s next work.