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The Shadow of the Wind Unknown Binding – 2005

881 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B008YE862I
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (881 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,350,223 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.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 93 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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5 of 5 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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