The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Phoenix, 2005)

I seem to have a knack for picking up good books worth reading, and so it proved to be with The Shadow of the Wind. Also helped by the fact it was recommended reading in Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. The recommendations were though strange bedfellows: The Da Vinci Code, The Alchemist, The Shadow of the Wind.

Maybe I keep strange company. I had read and enjoyed Labyrinth and had read and enjoyed the others in the list, which left The Shadow of the Wind for me to read.

The Shadow of the Wind (La sombra del viento) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is self-referential, reminiscent of The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster.

Sworn to secrecy, ten-year old Daniel is taken by his father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a labyrinthine library for obscure and forgotten books hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona. Daniel is allowed to choose and take away one book. A book he has to cherish and look after for life. He picks The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. What he does not anticipate is that his choice will lead to unwanted attention.

As young man, Daniel finds his life becomes intimately entwined with that of Julian Carax. Few copies of his works exist, and those that do, a mysterious character called Lain Coubert, a character in the book who happens to be the Devil, is acquiring them and burning them. Threatened on the street by Lain Coubert and fearing for his own safety and that of his book, Daniel hides his copy of The Shadow of the Wind in the Cemetery of Books.

All of which makes Daniel want to learn more of the author, having already had his appetite wetted on reading the book.

Set in Barcelona in the Franco era in the period immediately following the Spanish Civil War The Shadow of the Wind is an existential mystery, a tragic love story, part detective, part Gothic horror, but above all, a modern classic.

Copies of The Shadow of the Wind have been registered as BookCrossing books.

BookCrossing books are released into the wild and their progress tracked through the Internet via a unique Book Crossing ID (BCID).

Books Worth Reading ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafón
(c) Keith Parkins 2007-2008 -- February 2008 rev 3