The Shadow of the Wind

When I wrote about Winter in Madrid Gary suggested that I read The Shadow in the Wind, and all I can say is thanks!!

Funnily enough we actually had the book already as Sands had picked it up, so I was able to sneak it off her pile and read it before she did!

The story line was very clever and the setting of Barcelona was very clearly projected throughout the book. I particularly liked the concept of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

I really enjoyed the book as it was just what I like – well written against a historical backdrop and with a good thriller as the main story. It was really easy to picture the characters and empathise (or not as the case may be) with them.

Ruiz Zafón’s novel, a bestseller in his native Spain, takes the satanic touches from Angel Heart and stirs them into a bookish intrigue à 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 Julián 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 Laín 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 Barceló; another fan, a leftist jack-of-all-trades, Fermín Romero de Torres; his best friend’s sister, the delectable Beatriz Aguilar; and, as he begins investigating the life and death of Carax, a cast of characters with secrets to hide. Officially, Carax’s dead body was dumped in an alley in 1936. But discrepancies in this story surface. Meanwhile, Daniel and Fermín are being harried by a sadistic policeman, Carax’s childhood friend. As Daniel’s quest continues, frightening parallels between his own life and Carax’s begin to emerge. Ruiz Zafón strives for a literary tone, and no scene goes by without its complement of florid, cute and inexact similes and metaphors (snow is “God’s dandruff”; servants obey orders with “the efficiency and submissiveness of a body of well-trained insects”). Yet the colorful cast of characters, the gothic turns and the straining for effect only give the book the feel of para-literature or the Hollywood version of a great 19th-century novel.

Once again Gary, many thanks for the suggestion!!

I have yet to select my next book. I have a one more photography book to review and I want to spend a lot of the next week writing as I have a few reviews to finish up, the iPhone Updates to (hopefully) do, and I need to get a good weeks training done to make up for this week. So I am not in a rush but if anyone has any suggestions let me know.

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