Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.

This was an excellent book that came highly recommended from a number of people. A couple of people described it as the best story they had read in a while. I am inclined to agree with them. Not only does Zafón tell a great story, but he does so with excellent writing.

The Shadow of the Wind is a book about a book. The main character is a boy named Daniel, whose father runs a used book store in mid-20th-century Barcelona. Daniel comes across a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax, which he falls in love with. But as he tries to find more books by the author, Daniel discovers that Carax is shrouded in mystery. What starts off as simply an interest in finding more works by Carax turns dangerous as Daniel uncovers a mystery decades old.

This is a slow-burn mystery. By that I mean that while there is a strong undercurrent of mystery, the other elements of the story are strong enough, that at times they become the driving force of the story. Zafón deftly weaves the history of Barcelona with an intriguing story of mystery and romance. The end product in an ode to storytelling. A love letter to reading.

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