The Shadow of the Wind… a review

I picked this book up a long time ago and told you about it. It’s a big book, I mean physically. And that meant that while I’m carrying my laptop around these days, I prefer not carrying this book around. Instead, I read on my laptop… Which means that I have turned to Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s words at night. When things have quietened down, when the drizzle and the wind is just starting to pick up, when Edinburgh’s night-light has taken over, I move over to the streets of Barcelona.

The Shadow of the Wind is the story of a book inside a book. Daniel, a bookseller’s son, picks up a copy of a novel of the same name from The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, written by a Julian Carax. He’s so moved by the story that, not very unlike me actually, he goes about looking for more of Carax’s works. Strangely though, what he finds is that someone is out to destroy all of  Carax’s books! He calls himself Lain Coubert, funnily the same as the name of the devil in one of the books. If it were to happen to me, I would try to get to the bottom of it, and so does Daniel, and he uncovers the unimaginable.

There are a lot of central characters in the novel. At times, when I returned to it after a break of a few days, I found it a little hard to pick up from where I left off, often re-reading the last five pages or so. But the description of Barcelona before the civil war, the bookshops, the buildings, the architecture, the people, all beautiful. More than anything else, the plot weaves through the lives of many beautifully, seamlessly. Imagine having the chance to go to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books… I wonder what sort of a title would catch my fancy!

Quote: “Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it’s an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.”

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