The Shadow of the WindCarlos Ruiz Zafón
mainstream, magical realism
Barcelona, 1945 — just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.
Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence.
Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (born 1964) is a Spanish novelist who has lived in Los Angeles since 1993, where he spent a few years writing scripts whilst developing his career as a writer.
His first novel, El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of the Mist, 1993), earned the Edebé literary prize for young adult fiction. He is also the author of three more young adult novels, El palacio de la medianoche (1994), Las luces de septiembre (1995) and Marina (1999).
In 2001 he published the novel La sombra del viento (The Shadow of the Wind), his first "adult" novel, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and more than a million copies in the UK alone. Since its publication, La sombra del viento has garnered critical acclaim around