Beautifully written--you cannot escape this book without becoming engrossed in the author's love for words. There are so many lines that are so delicious you must keep them in your quote file. The book as a whole is a tangled web of mysteries and separate stories that in the end, finally become lovingly intertwined. This book is sumptuous in its words and full-bodied characters. I did at times, however, grow tired of the skipping around from one story to the next. Perhaps part of that was my eagerness to find out which story was the "real" story. Viewing it now as a "whole" I would recommend this book--but only for those who savor words for the pure pleasure of their beauty. Without that, you may have trouble hanging on to the end.
Complex & compelling. Had a little trouble getting started -- lots of characters, Spanish history I wasn't familiar with, and some intense background -- but once I did, couldn't put it down. Very well done!
I wasn't familiar with the Spanish Civil War, but this was still a good read.
The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, is one of the most immensely rewarding novels I have ever read. The tale takes place in Barcelona. We begin with Daniel Sempere, who as a child is taken to a secret library known as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The Cemetery serves as a haven for books that are endangered or have become lost in time, waiting to be rediscovered by each new initiate, who is tasked with selecting one book and protecting it with his or her life. Daniel chooses a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julian Carax. When he finishes the novel and loves it, he hopes to read the rest of Carax's work. He soon discovers that Carax's novels are being destroyed one by one, and an epic mystery begins to unfold...
The Shadow of the Wind envelops the reader in its intricately-designed story, which not only delves into the complex history of the fictional Julian Carax, but also how his story and Daniel's are interconnected. Zafon draws his readers in with a deceptively simple premise, but soon piles on layers upon layers of subplots. His writing is glorious, shows much more than it tells, and reads like the finest literature. It gives me renewed faith in the skill of contemporary writers at their craft. It is part mystery, part period romance, and part atmospheric, gothic-styled melodrama. There is also plenty of humor.
The pacing can be slow in places and the subplots on all sides may overwhelm some readers, leaving some (including myself) wondering where Zafon is taking me with all this. However, the final third of the novel, when things begin coming together, satisfied me completely and did not disappoint. The Shadow of the Wind is not a novel you can down in one gulp. It is a banquet of a book which rewards the patient reader, and satisfies even more the second time around. Highly recommended!
A real book-lovers novel about old books! Fabulous thriller...