The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

A book I have already read. Book #10 out of 12 for Project 2022. I rarely re-read books but a good friend of mine and fellow book lover persuaded me to go back and revisit some books that I remember enjoying. This book was originally written in Spanish and takes place in Barcelona. A young boy finds a book called The Shadow of The Wind and falls in love with the story. When he tries to find more books by the same author he learns that someone has been collecting the books and destroying them. He spends his life trying to unravel the mystery of the author and figuring out who the culprit is.

Julián lived in his books. The body that ended up in the morgue was only a part of him. His soul is in his stories. I once asked him who inspired him to create his characters, and his answer was no one. That all his characters were himself.

So if somebody wanted to destroy him, he’d have to destroy those stories and those characters, isn’t that right?

I remember reading this years ago and thinking it was an amazing book and I am happy to report that I have not changed my mind. I can honestly say it is one of my favorite books. A new thing I learned this time around is that it is considered a gothic novel. A gothic novel is filled with mystery and suspense, some inexplicable events, and intense emotions. It is also very important that the past haunts the present.

There are a lot of characters in this book and it is important to soak up the details about each one as you are reading it. Each person is crucial to the story line as the mystery will unravel with the help of each person. I must warn you that the novel is long and has quite a few moments that are not for the faint of heart. Zafón is a master at details which makes the book heavy but beautiful to read. It even has funny moments which I don’t think many people expect from such a book.

After crossing the Ramblas, I made my way toward Calle Tallers and disappeared into its narrow canyon of shadows, feeling that I was still trapped in that dark, gloomy dining room where I now imagined Nuria Monfort sitting alone, silently tidying up her pencils, folders, and her memories, her eyes poisoned with tears.

The novel can seem slow at times but in this case the slowness works because it is really building a world around the main character and his obsession with finding out what happened to the author. It also builds suspense which is very important in a gothic novel. The sentences have a poetic quality to them. You feel very much immersed in the story which is what you want to encounter while reading. I wouldn’t say this book is for everyone due to the mature themes. The book should be ready slowly in order to enjoy the nuance of Zafón’s writing.

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.

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