4 Feb

Original publication: La Sombra del Viento
Editorial Planeta, S.A., Barcelona 2001
United States publication by The Penguin Press 2004
and Penguin Books 2005
Translation: Lucia Graves 2004

Soft cover 487 pages
Gothic mystery, horror and fantasy


I’m in Barcelona again. The year is 1945, and Daniel is inside The Cemetery of Forgotten Books where he befriends a book written by Julian Carax. The name of the book is The Shadow of the Wind.

This is a story about a story and the man who wrote it.

Between the pages are words that weave together a seamless garment with which to luxuriate:

“ He was a very private person [Nuria Montfort speaking of Julian Carax], and sometimes it seemed to me that he was no longer interested in the world or in people. Mr. Cabestany thought he was shy and perhaps a bit crazy, but I got the feeling that Julian was living in the past, locked in his memories. Julian lived within himself, for his books and inside them – a comfortable prison of his own design.

You say this as if you envied him.

There are worse prisons than words, Daniel.”

“Nuria Montfort was like a mirage: You don’t question its veracity, you simply follow it until it vanishes or until it destroys you.”

Systematically, someone is burning all books written by Carax. And Daniel, it is believed, has the last surviving Julian Carax, in existence. As we walk with Daniel in search of this illusive author, we touch the hem of madness and murder, descending deeper and deeper. Meandering from one scene into another, the connection between some of these characters and those we left behind in The Angel’s Game become convoluted. First- person narration guides us, and just when we think we have it, it becomes quite apparent that we do not. A little more than mid-way through, a revelation: we are unable to delineate which story we are reading.

This literary piece of work is flawless in its execution of, not only a pitch-perfect plot, but a brilliant underscore of place and time as well. Señor Zafon casts his spell, and willingly I acquiesce.



One Response to “THE SHADOW OF THE WIND”


  1. THE PRISONER OF HEAVEN | WORDMAN - February 16, 2014

    […] The Angel’s Game (reviewed here and here), was written after The Shadow of the Wind (reviewed here), but in my opinion should be read first. The Prisoner of Heaven takes the storyline and […]

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