You know that book which a friend recommends to you, you read and then end up buying copies of for everyone you know because you love it so much? Yeah.
The Shadow of the Wind is one of those books.
Released in 2001 in Spanish, it became a worldwide best seller, shifting over 15 million copies once it was translated into English. Written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
it became the book you saw on every trendy bookshelf and in the hands of everyone on the train. There was a follow-up, The Angel’s game which was actually a prequel and the third book is The Prisoner of Heaven which is the actual sequel.
It’s hard to simplify the plot in a couple of lines. This is a lengthy book, 565 pages of an intricate, complex story within a story which shifts in time. But don’t let any of that put you off. There are few books that are an absolute page turner and this is one of them. I simply could not wait to read what came next in the story. To be fair, I was gripped from page 1. Actually, the opening paragraph. A young boy, Daniel Sempere, who has just lost his mother, is taken by his father, a bookshop owner, to visit the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, so that he might get over his grief.
Daniel picks out a book, The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. He reads it and becomes intrigued by the book’s elusive author. He also discovers that a mysterious figure is searching for all of the books by Julian Carax only to burn them. From this beginning, the reader is plunged into a labyrinthian plot, masterfully and meticulously controlled by the author.
Just the idea of a cemetery of forgotten books sold this novel to me from the start. But from there on, like Daniel, I became totally immersed in the story and obsessed with knowing who Carax was and why his books were being burnt. Everyone I gave the book to had the same reaction.
In this time of lockdown and finding ways to bring joy into our lives, when we are separated from so much social contact, you could do worse than become totally caught up in this great yarn.