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The Shadow of the Wind [Hardcover]

Carlos Ruiz Zafon , Lucia Graves
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (783 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2004
Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'cemetery of lost books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out 'La Sombra del Viento' by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from La Sombra del Viento, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax's work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind. A page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 486 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; First Printing edition (April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594200106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594200106
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.5 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (783 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,992,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is the author of six novels, including the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game, the first two books in a series of novels set in literary universe of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. His work has been published in more than forty different languages, and honored with numerous international awards. He divides his time between Barcelona, Spain, and Los Angeles, California.

Product Description


A sensation across Europe... a page-turning mystery... a coming of age tale... And it's a hymn of praise to all the joys of reading, stylishly caught in Lucia Graves's entrancing translation. -- Boyd Tonkin INDEPENDENT crowd-pleaser in the mode of The Da Vinci Code... Intertwining playful detective caper, compelling political thriller and sweeping historical romance, the narrative coils back beyond the savagery of the civil war to the world of the tainted Spanish aristocracy, before slowly unravelling the dark secrets born of Franco's tyranny. Zafon's novel... leave the reader with a palpable sense of enchantment. SUNDAY TIMES This week's book barely needs an introduction. Almost every book group I know about had read The Shadow of the Wind... the book is about a boy who becomes obsessed with an author. It is set in Barcelona during a bloody time in Spain's history and there is, as you would expect from a bestseller, plenty of death, murder, love and heroism. THE TIMES BOOK CLUB It was only The Da Vinci Code that stopped The Shadow of the Wind from hogging the top of the bestseller charts last year... an astounding critical success. There's an intricate plot, a gothic atmosphere and an elusive quest, as well as murders, intrigue and star-crossed lovers. THE GUARDIAN a wonderful portrait of Barcelona - not the sunny, culture rich and fun loving city break destination that most visitors know - but a shadowy, at times dark and atmospheric picture of the city centre streets in the years following the Spanish Civil War. LIVING SPAIN This bewitching novel has all the hallmarks of a classic Holy Grail story complete with mystery, mayhem, romance and labyrinthine plotting. What elevates it above all others in the genre is its emotional energy, making it a richly rewarding read. DAILY MAIL one of the most engaging, funny, moving, lyrical books IRISH EXAMINER The best book I've ever read -- AMANDA LAMB WOMAN AND HOME a magical tale of romance -- CECELIA AHERN SUNDAY EXPRESS I couldn't put it down but didn't want to rush is as every sentence is beautifully crafted and every character unique. -- SANTA MONTEFIORE EVENING STANDARD A page turning exploration of obsession in literature and love SUNDAY EXPRESS a great thriller -- CECELIA AHERN MARIE CLAIRE the main character's deep love for books and their respective, secret libraries -- CECELIA AHERN IRISH TIMES A real page-turner of a mystery that will have you hooked from beginning to end SPAINSH MAGAZINE --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Beautiful illustrated edition of this runaway bestseller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enduring Classic 30 Sep 2011
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is literary fiction in the truest sense. It is a novel about books - about one book in particular - and about the power of words to inspire, inflame and ultimately destroy.
10-year-old Daniel Sempere discovers `The Shadow of the Wind' in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and from that moment his life becomes entwined with and begins to follow a similar path to that of the book's author Julian Carax.
The drama is played out amid the horrors and uncertainties of Revolutionary and Post-revolutionary Barcelona, where class is everything and yet where power rests not only with rich families but with anyone sufficiently ambitious and unscrupulous to take full advantage of the vacuums that war has left. Daniel, the novel's narrator, is none of these things. He is just a normal boy caught up in events beyond his understanding and control, and which threaten to overwhelm him.
Amid the realities of time and place, however, Zafon's sense of humour shines through. He is able to see comedy in the grimmest settings and situations. Indeed, there are passages where the line between grim drama, comedy and even farce is finely drawn, as in many scenes featuring the novel's most endearing character, Fermin Romero de Torres, spy turned tramp turned bookshop guru. It is Fermin who shines a light on life's tragedy and shows us the real meaning of loyalty and friendship.
The Shadow of the Wind has its malevolent villain too, one who evokes shades of Hugo's Javert, though without Javert's morality or redeemability. Fumero is corruption and decadence personified, almost to the point of melodrama.
The novel is literary, for sure, but it is also an historical romance with gothic overtones.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, but fades 1 May 2006
I enjoyed this, and read it in great gulps several nights stopping only because my eyes wouldn't stay open. It's a labyrinth story, the main character having to dive into the stories of many people to come to the bottom and so escape. It uses the old conceit of a book that becomes so important to the character that it is the springboard of the action. Here there is a further twist. The book is itself called The Shadow of the Wind, and the only hint of its contents we get makes it sound suspiciously like the one we are reading. For the narrator, Daniel Sampere, the search for the book's author, Julián Carax, is both a mystery that must be resolved and a replay of the book's love plot, which is in itself inspired by Carax's affair with Penelope.

So we have a mystery, a love story (actually, several), and quite a few other genre elements as well. It is an historical novel whose chronological setting runs from early in the 20th Century to 1955. It is also a gothic novel: the dark, disfigured Laín Coubert obsessively seeking out all of Carax's books to burn them; rich families with dreaded secrets destroyed by them; love that rules lives and mutilates its victims; resentment grown to driving hatred running through the whole.

There is also one very memorable character, Fermín Romero de Torres, who is the one that gives the key to the tone of the novel. He is a filthy, almost skeletal beggar, with horrendous scars all over his back, taken up by the narrator and his father to work in their bookshop. He is a great success, hunting down books in hours. He's also read everything, has the experience of 10 men, and is witty, to boot.
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124 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best novel I have read in years 17 Jan 2005
I have never before said this about a new novel, but I have little doubt that Zafon's 'The Shadow of the Wind' will in time attain classic status. The novel tells about the experiences of a young boy named Daniel living in Barcelona, who one day innocently comes across a book called 'The Shadow of the Wind'. After enjoying the book, he is puzzled as to why nobody, even those knowlegable in literature, seem to know anything about the novel's mysterious author - Julian Carax. It is his curiosity to discover more about the life of Julian that sets him on the path to a thrilling but equally dangerous adventure.
The novel contains twist after twist as the story progresses, and the characters, especially Daniel's hilarious friend Fermin, are all likeable. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost in translation? 10 Jan 2013
I found this book disappointing. Though the evocation of the city, and the insights into Spanish politics were interesting, on the whole it seemed sloppily and speedily written and the translation equally so. There were several instances of characters using slang from the 1980s and 90s when they were talking in a post-war time period, and this sounded really odd. There was also one instance when someone had been beaten up he was recommended to go to hospital 'for a scan' - I don't think scanning technology was invented at that time. Perhaps it was a mistranslation from the Spanish for X-Ray, though I wouldn't have thought X-Rays were easily come by in post war Barcelona hospitals either.

On page 1 the hero's father gives him the dire warning that he must never ever tell anyone about what he is about to see - which is the Cemetery of Forgotten Books - not even to his closest friend. Yet several chapters further on our hero decides to take his girlfriend along on a visit to the Cemetery, without any reference whatsoever to his father's warning, and without any inner should-I-shouldn't I turmoiling. What's more the doorkeeper admits Hero and Current Squeeze without so much as a 'This Place is Supposed to Be a Secret and That's What Your Father Told You' admonishing. Had the author forgotten what he had written on Page 1 or have I missed something vital? If you want magical realism try Isabel Allende's The House of Spirits.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A simply stunning story.
Latest Book Review: Carlos Ruiz Zafron- The Shadow of the Wind
Published 23 hours ago by Richard_92
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A brilliant story one I keep returning to.
Published 4 days ago by Peter H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Absolutely brilliant read. One of the best ever!
Published 9 days ago by Tina O Donnell
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book
A good read, with twists and turns in the adventure . The story telling draws you in to a mysterious world and is pure escapism . We'll worth reading.
Published 12 days ago by Robert Birkett
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Published 15 days ago by Ruby Whitear
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived in excellent time and in good quality.
Published 16 days ago by Sophie Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Make time for this!!
One of the best books I've read for a long time. An intricately woven plot introduces a likeable and earnest protagonist amongst a range of other very colourful characters. Read more
Published 19 days ago by David Stockdale
5.0 out of 5 stars but I already love it. I also know exactly why I will ...
I was bought a Kindle as a gift and could not get into it. I did try, maybe not hard enough or for long enough. I started reading Shadow in the Wind in book form last night. Read more
Published 19 days ago by mrs d a hogan
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Recommended to me by a friend, I am loving the story line in this unusual book. It is a real page turner which is ironic as it is about books! Read more
Published 25 days ago by Mrs. C. E. Pegler
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible book
I have not read a book so powerful, beautiful and haunting in decades. This is real writing. Real passion. I feel honoured to have read this.
Published 28 days ago by Polly
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Wanted...another great read like shadow of the wind... 6 10 Dec 2012
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