The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is our book club selection for discussion on Friday. Wow, this was some book. There is an interview with the writer on this site.
This was a fascinating historical gothic thriller about destiny. It's about people and things that were meant to be connected. The setting is Barcelona, Spain from 1945 to 1966 but also looks back to the 1930s and the Spanish Civil War which occurred just before the World War. Love is a constant theme: forbidden love, romantic love, unrequited love, fatherly love, motherly love, love between friends, and love of books. However, hate and vengeance were always lurking in the shadows.
The story starts off with a 10 year old boy, Daniel, being taken by his father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books; a labyrinth of passageways and bookshelves that store books that were no longer remembered by anyone. Daniel was told to adopt one of these forgotten books and make sure that the book would always stay alive. The whole thing was to be a secret even from his best friend Tomas. Daniel chose a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. He felt he was meant to be connected to this book. His fascination with finding out about the author from the age of 10 until his twenties, led him to a life of adventure filled with danger, fear, and love. We soon learn that one of the reasons that The Shadow of the Wind was so rare, was that someone had destroyed all other copies of Carax’s books.
The first sign that Daniel was about to embark on an adventure filled life because of the book, was when he looked out his window and saw the shadowy figure of one of the characters in the book, Lain Coubert also known as the devil. Who was Lain Coubert is one of the mysteries of the storyline.
Also as a child, Daniel became fascinated by a pen that was once allegedly owned by the writer Victor Hugo. Like the book, the pen linked Daniel to Carax and became part of his destiny. I would give this 5 stars.