“The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Barcelona, 1945.  (WWII didn’t affect Barcelona/Spain nearly as much as the revolution concluded in 1939, apparently.)  Daniel Sempere, son of a bookseller, finds a novel, “The Shadow of the Wind” by Julian Carax.  Carax novels are very rare, because someone has been actively looking for them and burning them.  Daniel is greatly inspired by the book and strives to protect it as well as find out more about the author, who also has a mysterious past and whose whereabouts are unknown.

The book consists of Daniel finding people connected to Carax and interviewing them.  It is interesting because not every person is a reliable witness.  Some deliberately try to mislead him.  So it is fun to try to figure out the story.  The main suspect as to the identity of the main bad guy, for instance, changes at least three times.

This is all set against the backdrop of Daniel’s coming of age and falling in love.  Interestingly, a lot of details from Carax’s life seem to be replicated in Daniel’s own.  Furthermore, there is the backdrop of the aftermath of a brutal war and ensuing witchhunts, along with survivor’s guilt etc.

Pretty good story; kind of a mystery, kind of a love story.  Similar to another Spanish-language novel I have written about on this blog, I couldn’t help but thinking at the end that all these people’s problems would have been solved if they could just have kept it in their pants…

What do you think?

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