Shadow of the Wind - UNABRIDGED Audio Cassette
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The novel contains twist after twist as the story progresses, and the characters, especially Daniel's hilarious friend Fermin, are all likeable. Highly recommended.
Thus begins the child's fascination with the author of "The Shadow of the Wind", one Julian Carax. The child grows, determined to discover who was this mysterious Carax, why did he flee Barcelona, and why is some mysterious stranger determined to destroy all copies of his books and all trace of his life.
The destruction of an artist's life and works is a potent exploration of censorship and the ability of Franco's followers to fictionalise history. Carlos Ruiz Zafon has life imitating art: Daniel's life seems to parallel Carax's! Is this a case of not learning from history? One of the characters remarks that true evil requires thought and reason, but that most people who do evil are too stupid to intellectualise their behaviour: they act simplistically out of corrupted emotions ... fear, anger, jealousy, guilt, greed.
Fascism, we see, took a hold because not enough people were prepared to act to stop it. Fascism will return if people are too lazy to think, to value, to question. History can repeat itself unless people learn.
But Fascism - which tries to impose a rigid structure on the State and its people - creates intense loneliness. People live in fear of exposure, of seizure by the secret police because they dare to think differently.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This an extraordinary book. The story has you gripped from start to finish. The imagery and way it is written are evocative and you have a sense of being in each scene.Published 2 days ago by Ms Suzanne E Pearce
A truly wonderful book. It will make you laugh, cry and feel fear. The story telling is so fluid I wish I could read it again for the first time! Read morePublished 14 days ago by Harriet Jones
Tries too hard to be clever - maybe I need to read it in the originalPublished 19 days ago by Patrick McParland
Whilst the narration in this book is mediocre (with an occasional twist as you figure things out) the plot is engrossing and mysterious. Read morePublished 1 month ago by bythebuy
Barcelona, 1945. Young Daniel Sempere, grieving after the death of his mother, is taken to the labyrinthine Cemetery of Forgotten Books by his bookseller father and allowed to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by P. G. Harris