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Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind

September 9, 2009

I finished The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón last Sunday somewhere over the Pacific Ocean between Honolulu and Los Angeles. To put it simply, I LOVED. THIS. BOOK. It took me a couple of weeks to read this, which is kind of long for me, but I didn’t just read, I savored it. The book begins in the summer of 1945, when a 10-year-old Daniel accompanies his father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time. The tradition for a first-time visitor, an initiation of sorts, is that the visitor must choose one book from the shelves to take away with them. They must adopt the book, and ensure that it will never disappear, that it will always stay alive. The book chosen by Daniel is The Shadow of the Wind by an author named Julian Carax. Later we learn that this book may be one of the last, if not the very last, book by Julian Carax that still exists. An unknown man has been searching out all of Carax’s novels and burning them. He calls himself Lain Coubert, which is the name of the Devil in The Shadow of the Wind. The story follows Daniel as he searches for Julian Carax while growing up in Barcelona. We learn about his life, loves, friends and even brushes with the police.

This book is gorgeous. It is a modern gothic novel, which I love. I took a gothic literature class in college and I have loved gothic novels ever since. Zafón (and his translator) write so beautifully. I am forcibly restraining myself from re-reading it immediately. I keep a notebook of quotes from the books I read, and I filled up many pages with quotes from this book. I am going to include one below from the first section of the book that really resonated with me:

“…few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later – no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget – we will return.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 10, 2009 10:53 am

    Ohhh, I’m so happy to read this review – this book is on my to-read list!!

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