Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind

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The Shadow of the Wind

Written by  Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Translated by Lucia Graves 
Published February 1, 2005 by Penguin 
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller 
487 pages 

I just finished reading The Shadow of the Wind for the second time and I almost forgot how wonderful the book is. The book’s first sentence hooked me: I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. In 1945, Daniel Sempere is taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in Barcelona, Spain. He is only ten, but his life will forever change. Daniel was raised among books, since his own father is a book seller. He cannot tell anyone the secrets within the walls of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. His father tells him to pick a book to protect as his own. Daniel moves through the maze of  bookshelves until he picks his book: The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. That night Daniel falls in love with the book and desires to read more books by the author. However, Daniel cannot read anymore books written by Carax, because someone has been trying to remove the books from existence. This leads Daniel onto a literary quest to discover more about Julián Carax and why his books have suddenly disappeared.

The Shadow of the Wind is almost magical as your curiosity increases with thrills, scandals, rumors, passion, and suspense. I highly recommend this book. Carlos Ruiz Zafón wrote a sequel,The Angel’s Game, that unfortunately I didn’t think matched The Shadow of the Wind. However, you’ll find reappearing characters and the story somewhat continues.

     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 and 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…In this place, books no longer remembered by anyone, books that are lost in time, live forever, waiting for the day when they will reach a new reader’s hands. In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind, pages 5-6)

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Quote: A book is somebody’s friend

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In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.

– Carlos Ruiz Zafon (The Shadow of the Wind)

Whenever I’m stuck on something to write I look to my quotations for inspiration. I absolutely loved The Shadow of the Wind that I read earlier this year. (There’s a reason it’s the top of my book recommendations.) It’s a book lover’s book with the mysteries inside each book. It almost seems like a crazy idea for a book to be somebody’s best friend, but ponder it for a moment. Walk into any used bookstore, library, or even a garage sale and you’ll find books that they have been loved at sometime in their life. I’m not including books from brand new stores, since they haven’t had time to live. I get excited about those books with the wrinkled edges and slightly worn pages. Where has this book been? Who has been its friend? Perhaps the book’s friend curled up reading in bed, another friend may have had a tissue box nearby, another friend wore out the book stroking its spine, another friend constantly carried it to read at a moment’s notice, or another friend read aloud for all to hear its message. The book changed hands and had a different significance and meaning to others. This is true for all books, since we have various preferences and each book means something new. A well-loved book gains endless friends whenever it is passed onto others.  I know when I finish a good book it feels as though I’ve lost a friend, however perhaps I’ll now examine that for a small moment my life was part of the book’s life. What books have been your good friend?