An atmospheric novel with an ‘old world’ feel to it, ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ is also humorous and lightheartedly ironic. Although it was recommended to me as a page turner, I didn’t feel it became so until the latter half. Don’t be in too much of a hurry and you won’t be disappointed by the slow and wordy pace. The writing is beautiful but you do have to be in the mood to enjoy it and let it take its time. There is actually more mysterious intrigue than any fast paced plot but in the end all is revealed and comes to a satisfying conclusion. If you enjoy gathering wisdom quotes, this novel is full of them which is admirable in a translated novel. Daniel and Fermin were my favourite characters, both grounded and developing, in contrast to many of the other characters, especially the women, who remained rather two dimensional.
“Barcelona. 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled ‘The Shadow of the Wind’, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.”
In case you are ever travelling to Barcelona, there is a detailed walking tour complete with pictures and map included at the end of the book. Readers can explore and revisit the setting of the book.
Zafon has written two more gothic tales set in Barcelona which are what I would call “loose sequels”after this one: ‘The Angel’s Game’ and ‘The Prisoner of Heaven’. His first book, called ‘The Prince of Mist’, was published as ‘young adult’ genre. I like what the author says about that classification which he apparently, didn’t agree with. He says he believes that good storytelling “transcends age limitations.” That is something that I strongly agree with.