The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Cover ImageFinished 12-5-10, rating 5/5, fiction, pub. 2001

This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary.  Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul.  The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it.  Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens….When a library disappears, or a bookshop closes down, when a book is consigned to oblivion, those of us who know this place, its guardians, make sure that it gets here.  In this place, books no longer remembered by anyone, books that are lost in time, live forever, waiting for the day when they will reach a new reader’s hands.  In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner.  Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.  Now they have only us, Daniel.  Do you think you’ll be able to keep such a secret?”

The Cemetery of Forgotten Books

This is a book for book lovers just in case you couldn’t tell from the passage above.  And the above is pretty much why I haven’t bought an e-reader, but on to the story.  In 1945, Daniel is just a boy when his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books hidden in the back streets of Barcelona and when his obsession with the mysterious author, Julian Carax begins.  Daniel chose The Shadow of Wind to take home and he soon began to search out other Carax titles.  Only there weren’t any.  Someone had been destroying them all one by one.  Daniel was sixteen when he began to search out the books in earnest and he was aided in his quest by the cagey and charming Fermin.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with Daniel and Fermin and I was drawn into the mess they got themselves into when they started asking questions about Carax.  Why were so many people trying to keep the truth hidden?  And who were the good guys?  The characters they meet along the way heightened the suspense and I loved them all (well, I loved their addition to the story!).

It takes a lot to keep my attention these days.  Trying to find a balance between me for 39 years and mother of an infant me is trickier than I thought.  I have the attention span of a gnat these days, but this book kept me reading every spare moment I had, even if it was only a few minutes at a time.  I loved the drama, the mystery, the love, the Spanish setting, the wide cast of characters, and the love and respect of books shown in the story.  This book has a little bit of everything and I loved it.  Since I’m rating this a 5 it is obviously one of my favorites this year!

This was from my personal library and chosen by Vasilly and Alessandra.  Here’s what they had to say…

“Set in Barcelona in the 1950s, a masterpiece about the love for books.”  Alessandra

“You want to dig deeper into the book as you read.”  Vasilly