The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón Review

As I finished reading the last word available in the book and accepted the harsh reality that all good things must come to an end, I took a deep breath, hugged it to my chest and stared at the wall for a good five minutes.
Afterwards, as I attempted to read Marquez’s Hundred Years of Solitude, I couldn’t stop thinking of Daniel and Julian Carax. I needed time to mourn them before I could move onto another adventure, one without the Aldayas, the Barcelos or the Aguilars.

The Shadow of the Wind opens with Mr. Sempere walking his son Daniel to the magical and clandestine Cemetery of Forgotten Books. As he wanders through the spiraling labyrinth filled with orphaned volumes, one little novel by the name Shadow of the Wind seems to choose him. Dazed and moved by the story, Daniel sets out on a journey to find more work by the author Julian Carax, a journey that seems to move in sync with his own life.

As the story twists and unravels, we get to meet the enchanting Clara Barcelo, the eccentric Fermin Romero De Torres, sweet Beatriz Aguilar, the mysterious book burner named after a protagonist in Carax’s novel and so many more characters that quickly grow on you and remain nestled just underneath your veil of consciousness, like an emigrated friend.

Having 1945 Barcelona as the setting to this suspenseful novel fit rather perfectly. Even if you’ve never been to the city, it portrays the gothic and enchanting feel of the story. Zafon’s Barcelona transcends beauty and magnificence into that abstract romanticism that many try to portray but only few truly reach.

“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. 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 many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget — we will return.” 

This is where I tell you that I believe in magic.

I do. I believe there are things in the universe so deeply connected that one can only address them as magic.

And while it may seem silly to think of a book as a magical instrument, I still believe this one is.

I don’t remember buying The Shadow of the Wind. I probably stacked a couple books together and bought them in passing. It stayed in my little To-Read drawer for almost five years, ironically, in my own little Cemetary of Forgotten Books. The title found me again the way it found Daniel Sempere all those years before, and it left that same mark on me as it did him. I know that no matter how many books find their way into my bookshelf, they will always live in the shadow of Zafon’s words.  

Let me know if you bought this book, I would like for you to meet my friends.

Enjoy and always bring a book home. x

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