Book Review · Historical Fiction Challenge

REVIEW: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,  #1)The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Translated by Lucia Graves
eBook (borrowed from library)

Goodreads synopsis: Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to write this review. Anyway, now that it’s been a while since I read this, my review isn’t going to be as thorough.

I can’t remember where I heard about this book, but it had been sitting on my Goodreads to read queue since last February (as in, 2012). I wasn’t sure what to expect by the time I got around to reading it, to be honest, but historical fiction that involves books? well, get me a copy!

I had to take some time to process this after reading it – there was a lot of detail and it was such a robust story. So many characters, so emotional… It reminded me somewhat of the Count of Monte Cristo, actually; revenge, heartbreak, murder.

The idea of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books is amazing – I would love to visit a place like that. So many books and authors that people have forgotten – what a treasure trove! The mysteries that surround the novel Daniel chooses to protect from this Cemetery are complex, heart-breaking, scary and sad. So many lives are intertwined! If it wasn’t for Daniel’s persistence in searching for more of Carax’s books, the mysteries would never have been uncovered. Some ghosts may never have been laid to rest – and others may never have been resurrected.

One of the most astonishing things for this novel was the beautiful translation. It was so well done, I would never have known it was a translation if I hadn’t seen that!  It was a very enjoyable read. I definitely recommend it.


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