“A book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our hear and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day”.
After reading a number of recommendations about The Shadow of the Wind, I enjoyed this historical novel which is full of secrets, intrigue, love, and mystery in Barcelona. Commuting became something I looked forward to as I was drawn into the cloak and dagger plot. Listening gave a different perspective to the pronunciations of Spanish names and the narration and music justified the intricacy of the tale. As i neared the ending and the audio book neared expiry, I ended up staying up late and reading the final pages.
The story begins when a bookseller takes his young son to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, sharing his love of books and initiating him in a secret that will change his life. Daniel was privileged to choose one book. He decided carefully and once he started reading, could not put the book down. He discovered that copies of this novel were sought by others as he began his search for other books by the author Julian Carax He learned that someone was burning copies and he began uncovering a dangerous plot echoed in the book and his own life as he probed for more details about the elusive author.
“As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable diminishing replicas of itself inside. Step by step the narrative split into a thousand stories, as if it had entered a gallery of mirrors, its identity fragmented into endless reflections. The minutes and hours glided by as in a dream”.
As Daniel reached out to those connected with Carax, his curiosity sparked a web of events leading to multiple murders spanning times of war and peace in Barcelona. The characters each had their own stories to tell leading Daniel to learn more about the author’s challenging past as he avoided a determined law enforcer committed to find the author. This put Daniel, his family and those he met in danger.
Carlos Ruiz Zaron’s website indicates that it had taken him writing 4 books to write his “first novel” and shares details about the rest of this series which consists of 2 additional novels: The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven. He had previously written books for young adults but describes The Shadow of the Wind as “a novel of novels; it is a story that is made of many stories”.
“I write because I really have no other choice. This is what I do. This is what I am. I am in the business of storytelling. I always have been, always will be. It is what I’ve been doing since I was a kid. Telling stories, making up tales, bringing life to characters, devising plots, visualizing scenes and staging sequences of events, images, words and sounds that tell a story. All in exchange for a penny, a smile or a tear, and a little of your time and attention”.
The Shadow of the Wind tops the Goodreads list of Popular Books about Books and for lovers of reading, this intricate prose will keep the reader engaged and intrigued. I would also recommend this story for reluctant young adult to adult readers as the mystery will keep them engaged and may spawn a love of reading. I will be adding the next two novels in the series to my own TBR list and can’t believe that I missed reading The Shadow of the Wind for so long!
“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 may books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget – we will return. for me those enchanted pages will always be the ones I found among the passageways of the Cemetery of Forgotten books”.