Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Shadow of the Wind is a masterfully crafted narrative brimming with tension, angst, and untamed curiosity.
Barcelona was still working to establish normalcy in 1945, six years after the end of the Spanish Civil War. In this city of lingering tensions Daniel, the 10 year-old son of an antique book dealer, is presented with the opportunity to adopt a book from the timeworn ‘cemetery’ of forgotten books. What he doesn’t know is that with his selection of Julian Carax’s Shadow of the Wind his destiny is about to be forever linked to the most mysterious author to have ever penned a tale in Spain’s storied literary history. Daniel’s fortuitous discovery and his subsequent investigation into the fate of the rest of Carax’s works lead him the through dark memories of Barcelona’s past. Daniel’s biggest challenge while moving determinedly from one dead end to the next is to stay ahead of the sinister miscreant hell-bent on destroying the book and leaving Carax’s legacy buried in the annals of time.
While all fans of mystery novels appreciate a beguiling story that pursues false leads and finishes with an unpredictable ending, this story doubles the effects by enmeshing the distant lives of two protagonists with similar backgrounds whose fates are reliant upon one another. Zafon’s eloquent prose pulls the reader into Daniel’s world. The city and its atmosphere become tangible, and the deeply felt emotions are palpable. This story within a story weaves a web of motions that run the gamut of despair, heartache, love, and, hope.
Shadow of the Wind is perfect for thrilling intrigue and pointed contemplation.