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The Shadow Of The Wind Paperback – 28 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (28 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965903990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753819319
  • ASIN: 0753819317
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.1 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (884 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,034 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

Review

· "If you thought the gothic novel died with the 19th century, this will change your mind¿ in Zafon's hands, every scene seems to come from an early Orson Wells movie¿ one gorgeous read." (STEPHEN KING)

For the first time in 20 years or so as a book reviewer, I am tempted to dust off the old superlatives and even to employ some particularly vulgar cliches from the repetoire of publishers' blurbs. My colleagues may be shocked, but I don't care, I can't help myself, here goes. The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storyteller's art. I couldn't put it down. Enchanting, hilarious and heartbreaking, this book will change your life." (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Zafon's book is tremendously enjoyable... his story is impressively well-rounded. Humour, horror, politics and romance are skilfully deployed and.. the overall effect is hugely satisfying. Zafon, a former screenwriter, is particularly good at contrast and pacing: the book's 400 pages whip past with incredible speed. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

¿ what makes this novel so irresistibly readable is the emotional energy generated by the ups and downs of a big and varied cast of memorable characters¿. His conviction of the importance of literature in real life comes shining through¿ Walk down any street in Zafon¿s Barcelona and you¿ll glimpse the shades of the past and the secrets of the present, inscribed alike in the city¿s material fabric and the lives of its citizens." (Michael Kerrigan GUARDIAN)

Gripping and instantly atmospheric, this literary mystery opens in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a maze-like library of obscure tomes hidden away in Barcelona's Old City, where the hero, Daniel, is taken as a boy...But he little realises the evil which it will unleash and the devastating impact it will have on his life." (MAIL ON SUNDAY YOU MAGAZINE)

'For the bibliophiles there can be few more enticing-sounding places than the 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books'...'The Shadow of the Wind' has been a publishing phenomenon in Spain and throughout Europe... Combining all the best elements of crime fiction with an investigation of the power of literature to shape our lives and imaginations, it is one of the most original and compelling stories of the past decade." (NICK RENNISON WATERSTONES QUARTERLY)

"a potent mix: a coming-of-age story set in Barcelona's post-war years, an edge of fantasy, a tragic love story, and a labyrinth of mystery." (Ben Page THE BOOKSELLER.)

Zafon makes sure there's a robust serving of amor, and enough magic, murder and madness to keep even the most reluctant reader engrossed. Diabolically good. (ELLE MAGAZINE)

everything about The Shadow of the Wind is smooth. The language purrs along, while the plot twists and unravels with a languid grace... Zafon's novel is atmospheric, beguiling and thoroughly readable. (OBSERVER)

Set in the author's native Barcelona in the years after the Spanish Civil War, this gripping novel has the feel of a gothic ghost story, complete with crumbling, ivy-covered mansions, gargoyles and dank prison cells.... this is just the sort of literary mystery that would have found favour with Wilkie Collins. (DAILY MAIL)

Good old-fashioned narrative is back in fashion... his tale [has] a dramatic tension that so many contemporary novels today seem to lack. This is highly-sophisticated, fun reading that keeps you gripped and tests the brain cells all at the same time. What more could you ask for?" (THE SCOTSMAN)

This epic novel spent two years on the Spanish bestseller list. It's easy to see why.... Zafon is planning to write another three books around the same theme , and if they keep the pulse pumping and the pages turning as reliably as this fantastic piece of fiction, he will have a publishing phenomenon on his hands. (SUNDAY HERALD)

The translation by Lucia Graves is excellent, mixing formality with poetry, so the rambling prose occasionally sparkles with lovely phrases... The twists of the story which fold in on itself again and again like complicated origami, eventually reveal a simple shape. Love and deception are at the heart of the literary mystery - aren't they always? (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)

This is such a racy, enthralling tale that it is easy to see why it spent two years on the bestseller list when it was first published in Spanish and Catalan... clever and expertly told... an extremely good read. (THE HERALD)

The book is written by someone witty and knowing enough to spoof himself while still being able to raise the hairs on the back of your neck... Carlos Ruiz Zafon's zest is infectious... He swathes his story with atmospherics... Barcelona becomes a place of doors opening into dark interiors of the mind... Behind all this is a fierce satirical energy against the tyrants and philistines of history... A game it may be, but somewhere in the shadows are the Caprichos of Goya. (THE ECONOMIST (US AND UK EDITION))

Imagine a 19th-century novel deconstructed to its tiniest atom and rebuilt again using what we could call "narrative technologies" evolved during the 20th century. (southbank magazine)

Zafon takes readers on an obsessive journey into a dark world, revealing the stories behind one boy's curiosity and the strange, brutal truth that comes with it. (Good Book Guide, named as Editor's Choice)

'Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges...Ruiz Zafon gives us a panoply of alluring and savage personages and stories. His novel eddies in currents of passion, revenge and mysteries whose layers peel away onion-like yet persist in growing back... we are taken on a wild ride that executes its hairpin bends with breathtaking lurches." (NEW YORK TIMES)

wondrous...ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero. (ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY)

· "A rousing adventure that reads as if Jorge Borges were writing in the mode of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose." (US ELLE MAGAZINE)

If you love AS Byatt's Possession, Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude... Eco's The Name of the Rose... or Paul Auster's New York trilogy... then you will love The Shadow of the Wind... Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind. (THE WASHINGTON POST)

· "Set in post-war Barcelona, Zafon's tightly plotted thriller is sharp, sexy, gothic (perhaps even a little ghoulish), powerfully atmospheric, often funny and utterly unputdownable¿ The Shadow of the Wind is more than a book about a book - it's an inspired homage to the book, a celebration of writing, and an exhortation to read." (THE AUSTRALIAN)

"The Shadow of the Wind will keep you up nights-and it'll be time well spent. Absolutely marvellous." *starred review* (KIRKUS REVIEWS.)

this book had me in its grip. It ought to be in yours. (THE WORD)

Chosen as best recent book to take on holiday: "Carlos Ruiz Zafon's wonderfully chock-a-block novel The Shadow of the Wind starts with the search for a mysterious author in Barcelona in the aftermath of the Civil War and then packs in as many plots and characters as it does genres - Gothic melodrama, coming-of-age story, historical thriller and more. It is a deeply satisfying, rich, full read." (Michael Prodger Deputy Literary Editor, Sunday Telegraph)

Chosen as best recent book to take on holiday: "If you want to be totally gripped, I would recommend The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a superior thriller set in Franco's Spain. It revolves around the sinister disappearance of a novelist just as he embarks on a passionate love affair. Written with exuberance and humour, it's strong on atmosphere and consistently suspenseful." (Miriam Gross Literary Editor, Sunday Telegraph)

"One of those rare novels that combine brilliant plotting with sublime writing. It's about Barcelona again, and word of mouth alone is sure to make it a bestseller." Chosen as a "big read to make your holiday a success". (JAMES DAUNT SUNDAY TIMES)

The Shadow of the Wind is at heart an old-fashioned adventure yearn, thoroughly marinated in gothic romanticism. (ADAM LIVELY SUNDAY TIMES)

a complex and absorbing detective novel... It is a tribute to Ruiz Zafon's skills as a Hollywood scriptwriter that he can create stunning set-pieces and bring to live a host of eccentric figures. (RAYMOND CARR SPECTATOR) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A stunning literary thriller in the tradition of Umberto Eco. The discovery of a forgotten book leads to a hunt for an elusive author who may or may not still be alive...

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First Sentence
I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 94 people found the following review helpful By A. G. Lockhart on 30 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rick O' Shea on 10 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sanjay Gohil on 3 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Shadow of the Wind is a hauntingly beautifully novel that skilfully interweaves the lives of two generations of well-crafted characters against the backdrop of fear and fragility in post-Franco Barcelona.

At its heart the book is a gripping mystery in which the young protagonist, Daniel Sempere, struggles to unearth events in the past that have a critical bearing on his own future.

The author succeeds magnificently in weaving together the past and present to create an unfolding tapestry of drama and suspense, while the twisting and turning plot keeps the reader off balance, but eager to read just a little more.

The characterisation will have you laughing out loud, crying and slamming your fist into the wall (not recommended). Perhaps the novel's greatest strength is the depth of sympathy you feel for the characters - some of the life stories that unfold, apart from being eminently believable, range from tragically bitter sweet to heart-breaking.

If you want to be moved, taken on a mystery tour and enlightened by an evocative social history, then Shadow of the Wind is a must.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mingo Bingo VINE VOICE on 17 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am aware that I am in the minority with what I am about to say here, this book has sold over seven million copies worldwide and is the second best selling book in Spanish history, so I could well be wrong, but I really struggled with this. I nearly gave up on it on several occasions, which I never do.

The story, and I can only give a really topline summary here, because it is so complicated, begins as Daniel is taken by his father to a hidden library called 'The Cemetery of Forgotten Books' and asked to choose a book to look after. The Cemetery is run by collectors of rare books and is used as a place to store forgotten books so they will remain in existence. Daniel chooses 'The Shadow of the Wind' by Julian Carax and falls in love with the book.

When he begins to be followed by a disfigured man and other people begin to offer him exorbitant prices for 'The Shadow of the Wind' he realises he hasn't simply picked a book, but become involved in a mystery.

So far so good, an interesting premise and what seems like it could be an exciting read in the vein of Da Vinci Code. It is based on a reliable formula, there is plenty of intrigue and the plot line twists and turns impressively enough. It is however the storyline that makes this a failure for me. There is no doubt that it is an intricate and well-planned plot, but what makes something like Da Vinci Code so emminently readable is the effortless way in which the story is played out. Dan Brown has many failures as an author, but telling a good story is not one of them. Zafon's story unfolds with none of the ease of Brown's books, on the contrary, The Shadow of the Wind is weighed down by it's story.
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