The Shadow of the Wind
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Product Description

Barcelona, 1945-A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called The Shadow of the Wind, by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax's other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that The Shadow of the Wind is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author's identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret.

Customer Reviews:

  • A Must Read
    This is by far and away the best book I have read in years. The prose is so beautiful and sensory that I became engrossed in the story and couldn't put it down. Since I read this book (almost 2 years ago) I continue to check the shelves every time I'm in the bookstore for a new novel by this author. ...more info
  • Amazing
    This quickly became one of my all time favorite books. I seriously recommend it to everyone and hear positive things about it all the time. If you have the chance, please pick this book up. You won't be disappointed!...more info
  • shadow of the wind
    great book~ mysterious, intriguing, spiritual. it is well written and hard to put down~...more info
  • The Shadow of the Wind
    This is a wonderful novel built in a candid and poetic rithm that almost reinvents the art to tell a story. If you are that kind of people that sometimes miss old good books, this is a mordern one that for sure it will make you feel rewarded. Take your time very consciouly, after the first few chapters, I dare you are able to give it up and then...enjoy the surprising story end. ...more info
  • A Book to be Savored
    Zafon wrote a book to be savored. The pages overflow with complex characters whose lives intersect in the most unexpected places. Like life itself, the story twists and turns, yet, always moves forward....more info
  • Coming of age in a gothic romance
    This is a mysterious and complicated story which covers a ten year time period in a boy/young man's life. The plot is summarized well in many other reviews; in my opinion, the characters were richly drawn and true to their individual descriptions. The story is told through Daniel's perceptions and his point of view can easily be appreciated and enjoyed, but not always followed. At times, I thought I needed a color coded chart to keep up with the relationships and time periods being described. I would suggest reading this book if you have time for long, undisturbed sittings. It's not advisable to read short excerpts, then put the book down for a day or so. Although I DID want to finish the story to find the solution to the mysteries (and there are several), I was not so intrigued that I could not put the book down. ...more info
  • The Shadow of The Wind/La sombra del viento
    Fictional but historical. It is the story of a book within a book. Parallel stories between characters. It is a great book, hard to put down, full of mistery, supense and witty humor. One of the best books I have ever read. I read it in Spanish....more info
  • "spellbinding "
    "Shadow Of The Wind" is a masterpiece of literature, personally one of the five best novels I've read ....more info
  • Shadow of the Wind
    A facinating read with good historical references within this novel to Barcelona. I borrowed this book from a friend orignaly and was so impressed decided to purchase a copy fo my bookshelves - definatley worth a recommendation....more info
  • None required
    As with all works of lasting literary merit, The Shadow of the Wind is diffused with language invented by the author to evoke images of such force, passion, and beauty that the words themselves take on a life of their own. Chapter Thirty comes to mind immediately. I study Zafon's scene and characteriztion; his unparelled choice of words that paint a portrait of the Tenebrarium and its occupants so vivid and hilarious that I must return to it time and again for inspiration. Yes, he is in the same class as every master of the art of writing. I eagerly await his next novel and a return to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. ...more info
  • Have you gushing 5-star reviewers actually read this book?
    Dear Lord The Shadow of the Wind is a stinker.

    I had bad feelings about it even before I started reading it...just looking at those absurdly gushing reviews on the back book cover from various newspapers in Germany, I had a premonition that the readers were blowing smoke.

    If this yawningly stupid and overwritten book had not been given to me as a birthday present, I wouldn't have even bothered opening it up. But, to be fair to my friend, I decided to give it a try. Okay, I've given it a try and now I say, Phooey. I've read a little over half of this nightmare and have no intention of finishing it. I don't care about any of the characters, what their problems are or what happens to any of them. Good riddance.

    Amazon, you need a rotten tomato or a stinky-looking fish to click on for those of us who really dislike something and want to warn the public.

    And now there's going to be prequel? Yikes.

    ...more info
  • It oozes barca
    It oozes old europe, barca, the mystery of the great cities, it tranferred me to my own adventures on the ramblas, amongst the hoi polli, cheering after a european cup, or finding out how the city has evolved, and then a great story to boot...more info
  • Fantastic read!
    I loved this book. Have recommended it to a number of my friends who also loved it!...more info
  • loved it
    this book is yet another book that was recomended to me that i would not have picked up on my own, but i'm glad i did.

    it starts out innocent enough, and then just sucks you in. the plot is fantasitc, and there are many twists and turns. the writing is very pituresque. i imagined the book in sepia tones, and yet it was quite vivid.

    it was a beautiful read. i will likely end up reading it again. ...more info
  • One the best ten I've ever read.
    Spanish and South American writers know how to get me hynpnotized reading their books. You just take your eyes off the book and discover you were just living the pages of another world like you have never imagined before. It's like booking a ticket to a great attraction in an amusment park. Once you get off, you still want more of it.
    Calros Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind is about laughter, horror, mystery, love, a lovely bookshelf, a mysterious city, Julian Carax, an interesting childhood, secrets. It's about everything. Still there is always some underlined danger lurking in the corner of the pages. Something that keeps you reading and reading.
    This is a masterpieace by all means, and in fact for all kinds of book lovers.
    I know a lot of other reviewers spoiled the story already, but guess what? This book is so good that it can't be spoiled, and it can't be told. You are going to have to experience it.
    For those of you who have not read it, this is highly reccomended. For those who have, please tell me what other Zafon books are available in English.
    Five Stars...more info
  • A Read Worth Making
    What a wonderful read and trip into mystery, suspense, love, hate, and desire in all of their truest forms.
    I will be recommending this book to my book club and hope that they take my lead and delve into Julian Carax and Daniel Sempere....more info
  • Utterly Amazing Book!
    It is not very often that you can read something and believe it to be a completely original concept - until now. Fabulously written. Truly a "must read"....more info
  • Non Stop Read
    I really enjoyed this book. I almost couldn't put it down (much like the character in the book with his find). Filled with a little mystery, a bit period piece and a bit romantic all rolled into a book that engrossed me to the very end. ...more info
  • With Apologies to R.J.D.
    Oh, it's night again
    And the Dark just killed the sun
    If the night must end
    You've got time to run away

    There's a door to dreams
    And they'll always let you in
    But with a silent scream
    All the nightmares must begin

    Still you chase what
    You can't see, like
    Death, and pain, and sin
    And the shadow of the wind

    You remember me
    I can make you disappear
    Be where you want to be
    Just as long as it's not here

    Well, I'm back and stronger
    And the first one's always free
    And it lasts much longer
    You can bet your sanity

    Nevermore, the victim cries
    As I slip beneath your skin
    Like the shadow of the wind

    If words had names like red and green
    And truth for sympathy
    Black and white and in between, then,
    You'd be misery

    Every day is an inquisition:
    Who are you? What are you? Why?
    I'm alive, I belong, I'll be back,
    It's a half truth,
    Still a whole lie

    In the garden of good and evil
    You'll know, what you know
    The spider only spins

    The shadow of the wind.......more info
  • Twists and turns through a myriad of subplots!
    Life in post World War II Spain, fractured family relationships, loves lost and found, mysteries and murder, coming of age, and the treasures of books are all themes wonderfully woven together in this novel. Don't pass up the opportunity to read this book...and be sure to leave a couple of hours of uninterrupted time to finish the last half as you won't want to put it down! My only wish was that my Spanish was good enough to read the original as some of the translation was a bit anachronistic...some of the sayings were clearly more modern than the times in which the story takes place. Certainly not a big detractor though. Felt a little odd to be reading a story centered around a love of books on my Kindle too! ...more info
  • Amazing!
    If I could give this book 6 stars, I would gladly do so. I haven't enjoyed a book this much since I finished the Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Both authors rely heavily on a gothic flavor, but each handle it in a different and unique way.

    The Shadow of the Wind is first and foremost a book about books; it opens with a journey to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. It is also a story about the love of books and how a book can take you on journeys that you never dreamed possible, if not in its own pages, than on the journey of discovering more about a book or its author. It is also parts literary mystery, murder mystery and love story; Zafon seamlessly weaves each of the threads of this novel into a tapestry, both beautiful and haunting in its telling....more info
  • Lurid B-movie plot cushioned by A-list writing
    Reading The Shadow of the Wind was both rewarding and frustrating. Rewarding since the writing is so wonderful (Lucia Graves, the translator, did an outstanding job). The setting of post-Spanish Civil War Barcelona was very exotic, and the characters were nicely drawn, esp. the eccentric ones that reminds you a lot of Dickens's eccentrics. You cannot read this book and not be impressed by the ability of this writer.

    Having said this, however, the plot is rather weak, full of B-movie plot points such as crisscrossed lovers, unrequited love, celestially beautiful aristocratic girls, brother-sister incest, and shameless cheats (at one point, the narrator tells the reader, "I'll be dead in 7 days," and then doesn't die due to a ridiculously transparent plot contrivance). And after you finish figuring out the mystery behind the mystery, you'd be liable to say, "Is that all?!" I really wanted a plot that was up to the writing--like say, the plot in Caleb Carr's The Alienist--but instead the best Carlos Ruiz Zafon could come up with is this pseudo-Harlequin-Romance dreck.

    So . . . a mixed bag. I enjoyed the novel and so therefore shall give it a 3- instead of a 2-star review. Read and savor the novel's descriptions, turn your brains off when "appreciating" the telenovela plot....more info
  • Like a fine wine that turns into an addictive drug...
    There are not enough stars available to properly rate this book.
    From the word go this book is engaging, and satisfying. The author uses wonderful vocabulary, the characters are very intriguing, and right away, you know you're in for a literary treat. However...
    This all changes once you hit the half way point. It is here that I found myself completely incapable of putting the book down. I was an addict. The plot twists and heightened suspense create such captivity and entertainment that by the time I finished the book, I was exhausted and thoroughly sad that the journey was over.
    A FANTASTIC READ....more info
  • One of my favorite books
    This is one of my husbands and my favorite books. You will not be able to put it down! ...more info
  • One of My Favorite Books!
    I didn't want this book to end. I read it slowly to savor every word. When I find books like this, it spoils me for other books and I have a hard time finding what to read next--because nothing seems as good as this one. I can't wait until 2009 when this author will publish another book in English. If you liked The Historian, you'll love this book! ...more info
  • Incredibly Beautiful Read
    "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 heart and mind."

    Stephen King writes that The Shadow of the Wind is "one gorgeous read." He couldn't be more right.

    The novel immediately lures you in due to its unique and engrossing plot. A bookseller takes his eleven year old son to a building hidden among the debris in post war Barcelona called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. He is not to tell anyone about it. There, in the literary mausoleum, Daniel, the boy, is allowed to choose one book to make his own--one book to give life to again. Following the maze of shelves and dusty books, he chooses The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax. Little does he know how much Carax's novel will change is life.

    After devouring the novel, Daniel, searches out Carax's other books. He soon learns that Carax is shrouded with mystery and that all of his books have been burned and destroyed throughout the years. Daniel might have the last known copy. And so starts Daniel's quest to uncover the truth and solve a mystery that has been hidden for thirty years throughout the streets of Barcelona begins.

    Zafon tells the tale through Daniel's eyes. You learn with him through his investigations and prying. Daniel's life, from age eleven through nineteen is constantly juxtaposed to that of Carax's and you learn about their various similarities. The story takes bold turns and gives shocking revelations that lead up to the "eyes open wide, holding my breath, don't disturb me" finale. You care for Daniel, for his friends, and for Carax as well. And you learn that everyone is connected in one way or another--for better or for worse.

    The book, originally written in Spanish, is a true masterpiece and deserves its renowned recognition. Although the 485 pages may seem daunting, the prose is so beautiful, you don't seem to notice. The plot progresses slowly, but every description and every detour is completely worth it and almost always important. Just keep track of the characters. Admittedly, I had a hard time doing that at some points.

    What I liked most was that between the beautiful words, Zafon bestows us little lessons and quotes. Passages like, "A stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are" seem to stay embedded in your brain.

    I highly recommend the book for anyone who is interested in tale that weaves mystery, danger, love, and life together brilliantly in a cobweb of disguise. Or, as Daniel puts it towards the middle, "It's a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind." I ended the novel with tears and goosebumps.

    Even though there is an epilogue, I still want to go back and visit the characters. See how they're doing. Stop in Daniel's father's bookshop and say hi. Ask if Daniel is there. See if he has any old Carax novels.

    "Look, Daniel. Destiny is usually around the corner. Like a thief, like a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it."...more info
  • Beautiful and Haunting
    Shadow of the Wind was an enjoyable read for me, even though I know I missed many references made by the author during the telling of the story. He uses many Spanish words and phrases, and there were references to historical tidbits and such that went right over my head, I know. It did not detract from the story, but I may have enjoyed it more had they meant something to me. Set mainly in Barcelona, Spain, in the 50's and 60's, Zafon gives insight into some important historical facts of the era. He invented interesting, some even zany, three-dimensional characters and gave them such an exciting story -I hated to have to put it down, and counted minutes until I could pick it up again. ...more info
  • This book will crack you out...
    So it was recommended to me by my fiancee who loved the book so I figured I'd give it a try. It turns out this is probably one of the 5 best novels I've ever read. It's simply an incredible book with beautiful writing, amazingly crafted story and just so F-ing good that it had me cracked out each night for 3 days while I tried to put it down. It's on par with Victor Hugo, Garcia Marquez, etc. and some of the finest writing ever. It's hard to describe but it's about as intense a novel as you'll read.

    I'm not going to give the story away, but go get the book. If you're looking for a masterpiece, this is it. This book is going to be an instant legend. It's his first novel and I can't imagine how Zafon can follow it up. ...more info
  • Take bad reviews with a grain of salt
    i really enjoyed this book. it is unrealistic at times, but its a tale, not a truth, and that to me is what makes reading fun sometimes. i read memoirs and fiction...i read to ESCAPE. if you do too, you will like this book.

    it seems like some of the one-star reviewers may just not like that type of book, but it was hard to tell bc most of them have written no other reviews for me to compare with something they did like. i guess they felt THAT motivated by their disappointment in this book to write their one and only review.

    anyhoo, i bought this for a friend to take to read while she was visiting barcelona and she liked it so much she convinced me to read it. the first half of the book, while not slow, was not as much of a page-turner experience as the last half. i stayed up til odd hours of the night reading it...if you like dark and twisty plots, definitely give it a shot. (ps i did get confused sometimes bt plot line...partly due to drinking wine and reading at the same time perhaps)....more info
  • simply the best
    A must read... what a book! one of the best i read so far.

    I think the translator did a fantastic job.

    I devoured this book, could not put it down. stoped a couple of times to re read some paragraphs, to linger and enjoy the art of writing...

    HIGHLY recommended...more info
  • Truly great storytelling
    A second-hand bookseller takes his young son, Daniel, to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a secret library that preserves volumes that would otherwise be lost forever. This event will result in a years-long quest for more information about an elusive author who mysterious life parallels young Daniel's in many ways.

    Carlos Luis Zafon's novel is big, gorgeous storytelling, full of passion. The many characters have fascinating backstories that intertwine in unexpected ways, resulting in a very rich plot. Fermin, a profane but courageous homeless former spy who become a loyal ally of Daniel, is one of my favorites, both for his great love of life and for the many hilarious comments he makes during the course of the story. This is a masterwork of Gothic melodrama that revolves around the world of books and writing, an irresistible milieu for anyone who cherishes reading.
    ...more info
  • excellent!
    This novel, I think, is one of the all-time greatest, most engaging books I have ever, ever read! This copy I bought as a gift for a 16 year old grandchild, who loves to read, because its theme is about the treasure and mystery of books themselves. You get drawn into the story from the very first page. It creates an entire world for you that you just want to linger in to see how the plot plays out! Get this one!!!...more info
  • A great Read
    Running along the lines of a great historical mystery... it keeps pace with several other books in this genre. I loved it. from cover to cover.. I was pulled in and transported. The twists and turns, surprises and discoverys made along the way just took me with them. Some of the constant description of the fog/misy/haze/smoke.. was a bit overwhelming at times... but it was the era of post war.. and lest we portray it as all sunshine and roses.. I understand the drearyness that hung in the air.

    Overall I loved this book. Almost as much as other "history mysteries" that don't take place in CURRENT days.. but not in ANCIENT history either..

    ...more info
  • 'There are worse prisons than words'
    Having anticipated reading this novel the entire time I was working my way through the last book I read before it, I eagerly opened 'The Shadow of the Wind' about five minutes after putting down it's predecessor.

    An intriguing premise, which I won't belabor the explanation of with 483 customer reviews here before me; but rather speak to what are, in my opinion, the strengths and weaknesses of the book.

    Strengths: This novel, unlike many other 'mysteries' that I've read, slowly builds the story, while giving each character a personality, a motivation, and a reason for existing in the text. Of course not every person you encounter is completely fleshed out and integral to the plot, but each and every one of the major players is, in fact, well-drawn and well woven into the tale. The parallels of the protagonist's journey here to that of his elusive 'hero', author Julian Carax, are subtle yet visible to anyone who pays attention to both what they are reading and what they have already read. The author pays more attention to his characters than their surroundings, which I point out as a compliment to his skills as a novelist, as it was more interesting, to me, to envision the surroundings while knowing what the characters were thinking and feeling, rather than the reverse, as I've experienced in so many other reads. The story is well developed, well explored, and interesting throughout.

    Weaknesses: Roughly 3/4 of the way through the book, the author (using the voice of Daniel, the story's narrator) reveals a major plot point regarding the climax of the novel. I am unsure if the author's intent was to provide a major 'twist' to the book and hope that readers would continue to find out the 'whys and wherefores' of what is revealed, or if he felt that it was important to the plot development. Either way, when I read this one line, it made me sit upright and say (out loud) 'How could you do that??? You've ruined all your suspense and anticipation of what the outcome will be???'. Nevertheless, I kept reading.

    The other 'weakness' I would state would be that the ending of the book is a tad bit 'Hollywood' in it's structure and resolution. One of my favorite ways a story as well-told as this is concluded is to have all things end as they 'should', but also in a realistic manner, no matter how 'fantastical' the elements of the story...and how you might think, as you are reading, that 'things like this just don't happen to ordinary people'. While I was satisfied with the outcome for the most part, I still felt unable to suspend my disbelief that things would really have had such a 'pat' outcome for everyone.

    However, these two weaknesses aside, this is, as has been stated in the praise for the novel, a glorious read....a book-lover's book...a story with many twists and turns. Fans of this genre of storytelling who might have read 'The Club Dumas' and other such tales will likely delve into this novel with relish, and find a highly enjoyable tale.

    ...more info
  • One I would recommend...
    I am rather particular when it comes to books because not everything grabs my attention. This is a very good book with a story line that will keep your interest. I would recommend this book to my friends....more info