I like to believe I am alright when it comes to writing. Nothing exclusive or elegant, simply plain words that flow through my mind to the tips of my fingers. I can always feel that my grammar needs improvement, although I can never quite grasp where exactly. If I had someone to kindly point out my errors that would be rather helpful.
Reading and writing give me life. It’s just one of those things that bring joy to my monotonous routine. I am not the most charismatic and outspoken person in the world, if at all! Maybe that’s why written words feel ‘right’ to people like me. It’s probably the only thing I am committed to doing on a regular basis without it feeling like a chore. Most importantly, without the need to succeed.
Artists, musicians and people of that sort seem to know their ‘calling in life.’ I will never understand how these people have the courage to go after their dreams when there’s an enormous possibility of disastrous consequences always present. Don’t get me wrong, I hope they succeed and return to speak about their successes to inspire the likes of us that are just too rational to take a step in the ‘wrong’ direction.
You must be thinking by now: what does all of that has got to do with the shadow of the wind? Well, allow me to explain. You see, the shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a book for people that are passionate about the art of reading and writing. It is about an undiscovered masterpiece written by a man who seemed to have disappeared from the surface of the earth without leaving a trace.
It covers a wide range of genres: gothic, mystery, romance, historical fiction, adventure, subtle humour and wherever you wish to fit it. So you must understand why it appeals to a variety of people and why I am going to speak highly of it. However, as I am only human, I did find a page or two to complain about. I try my best to remain unbiased, so I will most definitely discuss those as well.
Our protagonist, 10 year old Daniel Sempere is taken to the cemetery of forgotten books by his father to choose one book from there that he will take care of forever. The cemetery of forgotten books is a secret library that is inside Sempere’s book shop. (Daniel’s father is a book seller and owns the bookshop) It contains books that are no longer wanted hence the name. Its existence is only known to a very few people. Something I would be delighted to have in my life.
Daniel chooses a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. He really enjoys the book and once he finishes reading the book, he decides to find and read other books written by the same author. Here’s where things get strange. He discovers that there’s literally no other book left by this author because someone has been collecting and burning all of his books. He also begins to see a pattern in his life with the story in the book, so he sets off to learn more about Julian Carax but finds that no one truly knows what happened to him. As you can probably tell, the rest of the story is about finding out the truth regarding Julian Carax and why his books are being destroyed. But it doesn’t end there.
I think it seems as though I gave away most of the plot, which is not true at all. A lot of things happen in the book which is impossible to summarise in a few sentences. Everything is so interesting and the writing itself is so beautiful that you are bound to be engaged even though the mystery unravels nearly at the end of the book. The relationship between the characters and their dialogues are really interesting to read as well. The book is more or less 500 pages but it felt shorter than that to me.
Whether that seems like a lot of pages or not when you come near the end and discover the truth, it’s really…satisfying. Everything happens so quickly and you are just there watching the entire mystery unfold right before your eyes. If you are like me and always look out for subtle hints, you will probably figure out a few things before the end but that won’t kill the ultimate climax.
The only fault I found was that the story gets a bit slow when Daniel just sets foot in his teen years. It does gain pace quickly enough but I don’t forget when a book gets slow and will forever hold it against that book.
As for the writing, it was beautiful which I have mentioned previously. In addition, it wasn’t anything complicated or lacking in flow. It was like silk; exquisitely smooth. It will just flow through your tongue without stumbling once. You won’t have to stop and stare at a paragraph trying to figure out what is going on.
Truth be told, my summary is quite unjust to the book itself. If you are someone who enjoys historical fiction, suspense, mystery and romance or maybe just a book with a haunting feel to it, you will most likely enjoy it. If you go to my goodreads page and compare the type of books we read, I think it will help you decide whether you should read it or not.
The things is, I think a lot of people shelf it with one of those highly praised books that we all hear about and hope to read someday but never get to. I only heard about the book twice, so I had no idea that it was such a popularly liked book. I got it because I found the name really appealing to my taste. Lucia Graves did an extraordinary job in capturing the beauty of the book. She translated the book which was originally written in Spanish, in case you didn’t know.
If you have ever wanted to read the shadow of the wind but never did, now’s the time to do so.