Carlos Ruiz Zafron's The Shadow of the Wind is a hypnotizing tale of the impact of literature on both readers and writers. Zafron's work is written with the air of a suspenseful mystery, adventure, and romance tale.
Zafron tells the story of Daniel, a young boy who locates The Shadow of the Wind, a fictional novel in Zafron's story which is purportedly written by Julian Carax and had been long-forgotten in a labyrinth library titled the 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books' during the 1940s. The mystery begins when people in his city, Barcelona, discover that Daniel has this book and seek to remove it from his possession. Zafron chronicles the life of Daniel, as he slowly grows into adolescence and adulthood, and begins to learn the secrets of Julian Carax. Daniel soon finds that the author is similar to himself in more than one way. Eventually the plot thickens to a race of time and wit and will culminate in a very climatic conclusion.
I found this book both alarmingly odd and wonderful. Zafron's writing style is unique - he is able to describe horrific scenes while still retaining a sense of comedy. At times I found myself laughing aloud and repeating the book's lines to my friends. Zafron enables readers to quickly become tied to the characters in his plot. His descriptions of Barcelona throughout the post-World War II era are vivid and captivating.
However, the plot was complex and sometimes hard to follow. While I was reading this book I contemplated if I really did like Zafron's style. At times I became lost in the turns of the plot or long conversations between characters which I believe led to no-where. I will admit that I was confused more than once.
I finished reading this book three weeks ago... and I must say that hindsight has made me fonder. Perhaps I just needed time to digest the plot, to become familiar with Zafron's style. But, I am so glad that I did decide to pick up this book and give it a shot. The Shadow the Wind is definitely worthy of a read.
Zafron, c. R. (2005). The shadow of the wind. London: Phoenix.