Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Shadow of the Wind
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's been years since I've read this book, but I still remember the feeling of utter immersion in the Barcelona Carlos Ruiz Zafon writes about. I remember the sensory details, practically feeling the grit of dust inhabiting the long-forgotten places our young protagonist wanders through.

The Shadow of the Wind follows Daniel Sempere, whose father owns a bookstore called Sempere and Son, in the year 1945. His father takes Daniel to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where he adopts a book by Julian Carax. From there, Daniel becomes obsessed with finding out who Carax was, and what happened to him. The only person who can distract him from the search is the young woman with whom he falls in love.

This is an incredibly textured book. The language is highly evocative, and the surroundings do an excellent job of setting the scene. I've never been to Barcelona, but, after reading this book, I feel like I have.

Not that the book always paints the prettiest picture. This Barcelona is dark and dangerous and gritty, but ultimately fascinating.

This is a beautifully written book, deserving of its accolades. The translation I read was wonderfully done. It preserved the poetry of the language without muddling what was going on.

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