Daniel Sempere is taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and allowed to pick out a book that he will be responsible for and take care of; he chooses The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. Daniel is entranced by this book and keen to know more about the author, but constantly faces dead ends in his attempts to learn more about him. As Daniel grows up, Carax’s book and its author seem interwoven with his own life and with his friends and his decisions, as well as being associated with danger and betrayal. Daniel discovers that someone is on a mission to burn every copy of Carax’s books and this person knows Daniel possesses one. All this is set in Barcelona in the aftermath of the Civil War in Spain and the betrayals, danger, power, and ruthlessness that this episode in history is known for. The city of Barcelona is also almost a character in its own right; being historical and beautiful as well as mysterious and secretive and also sometimes intimidating.

I was very taken with the idea of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and very envious of Daniel being able to visit such a heavenly treasure trove of a place. I love the way that books are described in this novel with such passion and enthusiasm and a recognition that books are able to change people’s lives. It is so clear that this novel has been written by a book lover, and therefore, as a reader, I feel I am in good hands throughout.

It is a novel full of mysteries and, having read The Angel’s Game, I fully anticipated these mysteries not being tidily explained at the end of the story; I therefore found myself frantically trying to remember all the different names and the little bits of information and odd situations mentioned in the hope it would help me tie it all together later, but the novel is also so beautifully written that I felt I didn’t want to rush through it to get to the solution at the end. All the characters in the novel seem connected to Julian Carax in some way, and I constantly felt I wasn’t seeing the full story.

I loved the atmospheric descriptions of old Barcelona and its streets and history, although I was alarmed at the details of the regime in place at the time and particularly the fear that Barcelona’s residents had of the police (an organisation that I have always expected to alleviate fear and intimidation, not cause it). At the time of the novel, the beautiful city of Barcelona doesn’t seem a safe place to live at all and is one where people can be spirited away if they say or do something out of turn.

This is a very interesting book; very involving and enjoyable. I did constantly feel throughout that I was missing some vital clue enabling me to understand everything going on, and am looking forward to reading it again. I think when comparing The Shadow of the Wind to The Angel’s Game I would say I preferred the latter, mostly because this was so incredibly involved and had so many threads that kept me pondering about it long after I’d finished the book, but I think The Angel’s Game is one of those rare books that don’t come along that often.




Paperback. Pub Date :2005-10-1 Pages: 510 Publisher: Orion Ruiz Zafn's novel. a bestseller in his native Spain. takes the satanic touches from Angel Heart and stirs them into a bookish intrigue la Foucault's Pendulum. The time is the 1950s; the place. Barcelona. Daniel Sempere. the son of a widowed bookstore owner. is 10 when he discovers a novel. The Shadow of the Wind. by Julin Carax. The novel is rare. the author obscure. and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax's novels. The man calls himself Lan Coubert-the name of the devil in one of Carax's novels. As he grows up. Daniel's fascination with the mysterious Carax links him to a blind femme fatale with a porcelain gaze. Clara Barcel; another fan. a leftist jack-of-all-trades. Fermn Romero de Torres; his best friend's sister. the delectable Beatriz Aguilar; and. as h...
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