21 Aug

La Sombra del Viento is a historical gothic written in the first person. It is a book about a book. Set in post-Spanish Civil War Barcelona, an antiquarian bookseller introduces his ten-year-old son to “The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,” a secret warehouse of endless shelves of books no longer read and in danger of eternal obscurity.

“Every book, every volume you see here has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”

The boy is allowed to take one book. Only one, to which he will be forever bound. The boy, Daniel Sempere, chooses a book by Julian Carax – The Shadow of the Wind. And thus begins Daniel’s journey into a world of murder, revenge and vendetta ….

“Some things can only be seen in the shadows ….”

Lucia Graves does a wonderful job at translating the Spanish into English but the problem with this much hyped book is with the plot. Not only are some of the point-of-views illogical, so much so that they can’t be ignored, but the storyline is far too convoluted where it should be straightforward. The descriptive prose riveted me to the page but the graphic sexual scenes and vulgar comments, in my opinion, detracted from this otherwise intriguing story. Too bad.

Penguin Books 2005

Fantasy Fiction – historical gothic/487 pages


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