Friday, July 9, 2010

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I have owned this book since 2006 and I have absolutely no idea why it has taken so long for it to reach the top of  Mt TBR. It is a very successful title of the last decade and has been mentioned in more than one top ten list. In fact reading one of these lists recently I realised that this was one of only three titles on such a list that I had not read! Lovereading -  Books of the Decade Two of the unread titles I already had in my possession of which this is one and the third I have now obtained, so I will very soon have read all ten titles which were voted as amongst the best of the decade.

I was rather surprised when I looked on Amazon to see that there are already 459 reviews published there, of which 299 are five star ones. There are a handful of reviews from readers that did not like the novel but they are insignificant when a novel is as popular as this one I imagine.

It certainly deserves its place amongst the top ten titles of the last decade as I think this is destined to become a classic of the future.

What can I possible say about it that is original and has not already been said so many times before.  A truly brilliant novel covering several genres, romance, mystery and comedy with a really good story to get your self  involved in. Carlos Ruis Zafon definitely knows the art of good story telling.

In brief then the protagonist is Daniel Sempre a young man who grows up feeling that, to quote from the text, 'Mysteries must be solved, one must find out what they hide.' Also quoting ' It is a story of love, of hatred and of dreams that live in the shadow of the wind.'  The story starts in the summer of 1945, when ten year old Daniel ,whose mother has recently died is taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books by his father, where he is allowed to choose himself a special book to keep.

Daniel chooses 'The Shadow of the Wind' by Julian Carax, which he reads and enjoys, then as he is growing up he wants to learn more about this mysterious author. Mysterious because no one seems to know much about him! Unwittingly he has got involved in a mystery that he will not only become obsessed with solving, but will also lead him to the love of his life. As he begins to solve the mystery what started out as a young boys curiosity turns nasty, even murder as Daniels life becomes strangely interlinked with that of Julian Carax. Twists and turns all the way with a very satisfactory ending because the author brings us up to date with the characters lives after the mystery is solved.

A fact worth mentioning, if you do not already know it, is that this is the first novel Carlos Ruiz Zafron has had published. I can't wait to read the next one!

Another bonus for me of this novel is the setting in Barcelona which the author brings to life really well.  Also included at the end of the edition I read was a supplement, A walk in the footsteps of 'The Shadow of the Wind' which is designed to tell the reader more about the setting of the novel in Barcelona.

All I need to do now then is to suggest to my husband that we take a weekend break to Barcelona sometime and highly recommend the novel to any of you that have not already read it.

By Oh Barcelona courtesy of

Carlos Ruiz Zafron was born in 1964 in Barcelona and more can be learnt about him and his forthcoming novels here at his Website.

Blog Award!  I have just discovered that the talented writer PRIYA PARMAR has today presented me with this award over on her blog       THE PLUM BEAN PROJECT  I am honoured and thank her for her lovely comments about my Book Review Blog.


  1. Thats funny, I have about 10 pages to read before I finish Perfume and then this is my next book to read. Ive seen Carlos Ruiz Zafron interviewed on TV a few times and he always comes across as a really nce guy.

  2. i have been meaning to read this for so long! thank you! i have an award for you at the plum bean!

  3. I'm so glad you liked it! I read almost all of it in Florence over a long weekend and sat in the sun for hours, captivated. At the end, I breathed a sigh of relief that really GOOD books were still being written. Silly, but it was my only thought!

  4. Of this is one of my absolute favorite books. Since you say you'd love to read more, you should check out The Angel's Game, his second book. It's set before Shadow in Barcelona and has a couple overlapping characters. It's wonderful, though I think I still love Shadow the most.

  5. This is new to me, but it is now on my list to read. Thank you.

  6. Hmmm, maybe I need to reread it... I didn't like it at all... Your review makes me think I need to reconsider my opinion!

  7. Jessica - do let us know what you think of it won't you.
    Priya - I left it too long, read it soon Priya, I think you will appreciate it. Thanks for the award for which I have left a message on your blog about and acknowledged it on this review. Hope you are ok with my thoughts on this.
    Some Birds - I know exactly what you mean, a real storyteller has written this.
    Avid Reader - I can't wait to read the next one, hopefully soon as already on my bookshelf.
    Lakeviewer - Definitely one of the must reads of the last decade.
    Saretta - There is nothing wrong in not liking it, it would be boring if we all liked the same books! However you are it seems very much in the minority. What was it you disliked about it?

  8. Sounds like an interesting read. I have only read one of the books on the list of ten, and I would like to read quite a few of the others. My TBR pile just keeps getting larger...

  9. Cathy - I am enjoying some time on the computer as too hot to do much else, seems you are also. Mind you I am not complaining I love this weather.

    Only one! Sorry to add to your MT TBR, that is the problem with reading all these reviews I find. Off to read my latest book now, another one from that top ten.

  10. Hello!

    You are the winner of my 150 follower giveaway! Just send me an email with your address and I'll get your prize sent to you asap! :)

  11. Well, the writing felt awkward and the plot seemed a bit unlikely. I felt very aware that I was reading a translation and wondered if it was the translation I didn't like or the story itself. But that might just be a professional defect, since I translate! I had the same problem with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but there the translation was obviously terrible...

  12. Bethany - Oh my goodness, what a great start to the week. I am so excited to have won, thankyou. I will send you a message soon. :)

    Saretta - I think it was the translation aspect that put you off balance, as the story line was actually rather clever, I felt anyway. I am now wondering what I will make of the Larsoon trilogy as they are actually on our TBR shelves as well.

  13. I haven't heard of this book (should I be admitting that?). But I do love Barcelona - one of my favourite cities.

    Thanks for the review!

  14. I am not sure about that Talli, especially as it appeeared in the Lovereading top ten books of the last decade, see my link above! I wonder if there are others on that list you have not heard of? Maybe you have a good excuse and were not living in the UK at the time?

  15. There probably are others in the list I haven't heard of, I'm sure! I'll have to take a look. I'm more of a commercial women's fiction reader so I pay more attention to that genre, I must admit. Plus. I have a terrible memory for names!

    That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

    Talli aka Marsha - I don't feel like signing out and in again! :)

  16. This is one of my favorite books! I'm so glad you liked it. I recently reviewed it's prequel, The Angel's game, if you are interested:

  17. Talli/Marsha I have actually keep a list of Books I Have Read since the 1960's. I know sad, but it must be a family trait as I discovered not that many years ago now that an aunt also did this! My reading tastes are very ecelctic, but I would be interested to know if you have heard of any others from the list.

  18. Brenna - Welcome, thankyou for calling by commenting and becoming my newest follower, it is much appreciated. The Angels Game is on my TBR bookshelves and I am looking forward to reading it. I am certainly interested in reading your review, off there now.

  19. I read and loved The Shadow of the Wind. It took me some time to get into it, but by the middle of the book, I didn't want to put it down. I eagerly picked up Angel's Game to read next. I was disappointed in it since it had a much darker, more supernatural feel to the story. He's still a wonderful storyteller, I just didn't enjoy it so much.

  20. I was interested to hear that you did not think The Angels Game was quite so good.

    Welcome to my blog and thankyou so much for commenting. I hope you will be back to see what I think of the next one.

  21. After reading your review, this book is going on my TBR list... although I don't know when I'll get to it.

    I'm having a slow reading week, as my darlingmost has to 'reapply' for his own job due to an organisational restructure and we've spent a lot of our evenings writing the application.

    oh well... time to sign off and go to bed.

  22. Amanda - Carlos Ruiz Zafon is definitely an author worth reading, I have the second one waiting to be read now. I know what you mean so many books and so little time.
    Sounds tough having to reapply for ones own job and I imagine somewhat stressful,good luck to him.

  23. I'm glad to have found your blog. Thanks for following mine. I read this book quite a while ago, before I started blogging. For me, while I enjoyed it, it's not a memorable book. I can remember certain scenes but have a tough time putting it all together in my mind to remember the full story. I remember being confused at times and felt certain portions were slow. But overall, I understand why it's been so well received.

  24. Julie, likewise, delighted to see you here. Thankyou for commenting as it is the comments that make writing book reviews worthwhile.
    I understand what you mean about remembering stories in their entirety, difficult with the numbers I read. Writing reviews helps I can always look back :)


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