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The Shadow of the Wind (El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1)

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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  245,030 ratings  ·  18,794 reviews
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroyin ...more
Hardcover, 487 pages
Published April 12th 2004 by The Penguin Press (first published 2001)
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Laura Cruz De igual forma yo tampoco la considero una novela histórica, puesto que no hay hechos ni personajes históricos reales a los que se les haya agregado…moreDe igual forma yo tampoco la considero una novela histórica, puesto que no hay hechos ni personajes históricos reales a los que se les haya agregado un toque de ficción. Simplemente es ficción completamente y creo que es un excelente libro para los amantes de la lectura porque puedes identificarte con los sentimientos del personaje principal, sin mencionar ese suspenso que se manejó perfectamente en la trama hasta el último momento. En lo personal, me encantó el libro.(less)
Inês Costa yes, it is . It's a very good story, with very detailed characters and an amazing plot.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jamie
Mar 26, 2011 Jamie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone. So good.
Recommended to Jamie by: The girl at the Ferry Building Bookshop
There's probably nothing much I "learned" in the introspective sense, but this is a novel like a novel ought to be. This is an epic film on paper, gloomy and engaging, smokey, noir with crumbling ruins, young love, disfigurment, lust, torture...the stuff of Dumas, DuMauier and, as of late, The Historian. I woke up at five a.m. and had to sweet talk myself back to sleep: all I wanted to do was read. One Friday, after work, I took sanctuary in The Hotel Biron, those little tables in the dark, page ...more
Annalisa
Feb 10, 2014 Annalisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: some language and sex
Recommended to Annalisa by: book club
I read the opening few pages and instantly knew 3 things:
1. I was going to love this book.
2. I needed a whole pad of post-its to mark quotes.
3. I wanted to read this in Spanish for the rich poetry the language would add.

A young boy Daniel is taken by his father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and told to salvage a book which he must take stewardship over. He choses a novel—or maybe it chose him—that touches him, stirs his desire for literature, and forever entangles him with the fate of the b
...more
Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi
Mar 26, 2015 Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Tanja (Tanychy) by: a friend
The fact is that I’ll never be able to write a real review for this book. Here is why :

1. I’m not good enough.
I’m not now and I’ll never be. It doesn’t matter how many books you have read or how smart you are, you’ll never be good enough for that. You won’t be able to find exact words and it’s not just you. Only person who can is the author himself, but I think he already said everything he wanted.
Don’t believe me?
- “Books are mirrors - you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
...more
Daniel
After reading The Shadow of the Wind, I was left with somewhat mixed feelings. On the one hand, this is such a beautifully written book, and is in essence an ode to literature. On the other hand, there are some serious flaws which distracts from the whole experience.

The best thing about the book, in my opinion, is Zafon's skill in artistic writing. It reminds me of why I love to read in the first place, and makes me wish I could write as beautiful as this. The book contains lots of memorable qu
...more
Simon
It's been a couple years since I read this book so I shouldn't and won't go into details, but the effect has lingered all this time. There's no other book I'm quicker to recommend than this one. It's not that it's particularly important in a lot of the ways "important" books are, it's just that it works as pure reading pleasure (and sometimes, isn't that enough?); so I find reviews from people desperate to discover structural flaws and stylistic cliches to be totally missing the point. Buy it ne ...more
Lola
I found this novel by accident, while quickly browsing shelves at the local library, and let me just say it was the best accidental find i've had in years. From the very first line to the end i loved it, and as a reader i am not easily pleased by anything. I love stories out of the ordinary that captivate my imagination and run away with it. That is exactly what The Shadow of The Wind did.

Right off the bat the plot intrigued me, Daniel Sempere is taken to the a secret labyrinth of forgotten book
...more
Kelly
Trying too hard. I wonder if I hadn't read this right after Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell if I would have liked it better. They were both trying to pay homage to the gothic/Romantic era writers, except that Strange and Norrell was brilliant, and this one was.. eh. I appreciated what the author was trying to do, but he didn't do it well enough to keep me reading. Yes, Romantic lit is full of cliche, but the thing is to do it in an intriguing way and with enough wit to keep your audience intere ...more
Nataliya
"Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you."
Well, I wonder then what part of me I saw inside this book - a book I adored despite its imperfections, despite its frequent veering into melodrama, despite (or maybe because of?) its densely Gothic atmosphere.

Whatever it was, it was enough to make me lose myself completely in the rich setting of mid-20th century Barcelona, in the world of seductive dangerous power of literature and perils and passions of young love, a
...more
Jon Cox
I can't believe someone actually published this book. Even worse, in my opinion is the fact that this book is on the New York Times Bestseller List. How is this possible? It must only mean that there are a lot of people out there that think very differently from me. Don't you be one of them. Seriously. Don't be fooled by this book. It is insipid, lame, and poorly written.

First. The prose is so overblown that the author uses three adjectives for every single noun. Count them. He evidently was to
...more
Steve Sckenda
Daniel woke up and could no longer remember the face of his dead mother. In sad Barcelona of 1945, Franco’s secret police terrorize survivors of the Spanish Civil War. The psyches of Barcelonans are as scarred as the bullet-pocked buildings, and the streets are haunted with the melancholy shadows of the dead and the disappeared. Little Daniel will not pause until he can again recall the world of shadow.

Daniel’s father, an antique bookseller, takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where ne
...more
Warwick
Dire. The writing is along Dan Brown lines, with flowery metaphors mixed until they become meaningless. From page 1: "My father sighed, hiding behind the sad smile that followed him like a shadow all through his life." How can he be hiding behind it if it's following him? Then on the next page someone is described as having "vulturine features", but in the following sentence he has an "aquiline gaze". This sloppiness is everywhere.

The whole thing feels like it desperately wants be seen as some k
...more
Antonio
Aug 15, 2015 Antonio rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: TODOS, todo el mundo
Recommended to Antonio by: Veronika Carmona


Todavía recuerdo aquel amanecer en que mi padre me llevó por primera vez a visitar el Cementerio de los Libros Olvidados.


Porque cinco estrellas no me alcanzan para la constelación mayor que quiero armar en este firmamento digital, porque pase las cuatro de la mañana devorando frases, párrafos, paginas, hojas y capítulos como un hombre que ha estado hambriento de arte por bastante tiempo, porque mis ojos rojos prueban que el papel tatuado de palabras es una de las drogas más extrañas y hermosas
...more
Maxwell
Second reading: May 23-25, 2015-
Okay, I can confidently say, upon re-reading this, that it is one of my all-time favorite books. It was just as surprising and enchanting and delightful as the first time I read it, if not more so. The writing is impeccable. The weaving together of so many storylines and characters is remarkable. I can't gush enough about this book, so I will just say EVERYONE GO READ THIS NOW PLEASE. You won't regret it.

First read: May 12-17, 2014-
Everything about this novel was
...more
Jordan
This book SEEMED like it was going to be so good - a dark mystery set in post-war Barcelona, with tragic love and a place called The Cemetary of Forgotton Books... what's not to love? (To be honest, I'm not a fan of tragic love, but everything else at least seemed great). But while I was vaguely curious to see how everything pieced together, I didn't like or care about any of the characters, and dialogue like "Sometimes I no longer know who you are," kept me at a distance. The book never went be ...more
Deb
I bought a copy of this book last September at the library's book sale, but it languished unread on my shelf until yesterday. What prompted me to pick it up was this: I was browsing through the backlist and pre-orders at Subterranean Press because of an author I'd found who releases specialized, small run stories that I thought I'd like to read. (Caitlin R. Kiernan) Turns out her books now run about $40-60 a pop and are generally only available third hand. As I browsed down the list, I saw that ...more
Kim

This novel begins with a visit to an amazingly evocative location. A father takes his ten-year-old son Daniel to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a secret labyrinth visited and maintained by Barcelona’s second-hand booksellers. Daniel must choose a book to treasure and keep with him all his life. He chooses a novel written by Julián Carax, an author who has disappeared and whose books have been sought out and destroyed by a strange, shadowy figure named after a character from one of Carax's nove
...more
Suzy
Jan 26, 2008 Suzy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Patient readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren
Ruiz Zafón has created a near-perfect novel: seductive and intriguing characters, a brilliant Spanish locale, and a lyrical style reminiscent of past literary masters. I found myself reading passages countless times just to savor the words. The language was so solid and mesmerizing, I could not believe it was a translation. The story lingers in your mind hours and days after reading it, and I become nostalgic; wishing I could read it again for the first time.

When Daniel Sempere first enters the
...more
Diane Librarian
This novel started off very promising, but soon devolved into bad writing and ridiculous plotting. I finally had to abandon it after 200 pages because I didn't want to waste another minute on it. I'm going to give the writer the benefit of the doubt and wonder if this was poorly translated from the Spanish.

The story is set in Barcelona in 1945. What I liked about the beginning was the idea of a young boy being drawn into a secret world of readers. Daniel was 10 when his father took him to the C
...more
Seth Hahne
The problem with The Shadow of the Wind is that it tricked me into believing it was a great book by being so freaking fun. It is only now, after a month or so has passed since my reading, that I realize that No, The Shadow of the Wind was not a great book.

But it was freaking fun.

Seriously. Despite the pretty good writing, the largely stereotyped characters, the cliched plot development, and the soap-operatic twists and revelations, The Shadow of the Wind was a very fun ride. Despite the fact tha
...more
Carol
When reading a review of Shadow of the Wind I noticed my review has disappeared. I read this 2011 and I am reposting so everyone knows that I loved this. It is one of my all time favorite reads.

Several of my GoodReads friends really loved Shadow of the Wind. Paul and Helen nudged me to move it up on my list and I can't thank them enough for this. I have just spent the last week reading one of the most engaging novels that I've read this past year. Watch out everyone. I'm going to badger you unt
...more
Tash
Aug 01, 2015 Tash rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tash by: TL


I didn't read the blurb of The Shadow of the Wind before I started reading so all I knew was that it had a 4.22 average rating and the title reminded me, well, of farts left on cushions (because I’m really just a 10 year old), but what is it really about? It’s really a bit of everything – coming of age, mystery, tragedy, but ultimately it’s really a book about a book.

The Shadow of the Wind reminds me of the movie A Very Long Engagement in atmosphere, mainland Europe in the aftermath of World War
...more
umberto
In fact I came across this novel some few months ago at Kinokuniya Bookstore in Bangkok but I decided not to buy it then, I thought I didn't have time to finish its 500+ pages. I wasn't sure if it's a page-turner and I had never heard of Carlos Ruiz Zafon or read his book before.

However, I bought a copy from one of the booths in our annual Book Expo XVI held early this month in Bangkok. Surprisingly, its first page thrilled me with words I've never read before: "The only thing I can recall is th
...more
Sue
I really loved this book. It had elements of so many types of books rolled into one: it is an adventure; a paean to books and reading; a deep mystery while also a romance; it is a comic tragedy or a tragic comedy; there are so many overtones of the tragic history of Spain itself. And of course there is the magic, both in the words and in the action.

This book seems perfectly set in those murky years after World War II. While much of the world was attempting to return to some form of normal, Spain
...more
Monique Gerken
This is my favorite book of all time! It is my goal in life to have everyone read this. There wasn't a dull moment and it keeps you guessing.

"The time is the 1950s; the place, Barcelona. Daniel Sempere, the son of a widowed bookstore owner, is 10 when he discovers a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax's novels. The man calls himself Laín Coubert-th
...more
Arah-Lynda


Here is one for those of us who absolutely adore great literature. It is almost as though The Shadow of the Wind was written for book lovers everywhere. An adrenaline laced, pulse pounding, suspense filled, dark and romantic, gothic adventure, peopled with brilliantly developed, colourful, charismatic and ultimately,unforgetable characters. It really should come with a warning as it will keep you reading late into the night and long after you should have put it down. Fantastic! A must read folks
...more
Kaya
"Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you."

This book is extraordinary. The writing is impeccable and it's so easy to empathize with the characters. The setting is beautifully described and I felt like I was living in Barcelona. Zafon really knows how to evoke emotions and compassion.

This is a story about Daniel, growing up in Barcelona after the World War II. His father took him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and allowed him to pick out one book that he
...more
Will M.
One of the best novels I've read, and not just of the Historical Fiction genre. This has to be the very first novel to really make me feel like I was living the life of the main character. I don't think I'll ever be able to get over how amazing this novel is. I'm going to have to reread this one day, because I really need to experience this whole novel one more time. I'll have to read the sequels first though.

Everything about this novel is superb. The characters, setting, plot, deliverance, and
...more
Charlene
I don't always read horror. I love to read classics and in my mind, this tale is a classic.

This is the first book in a series called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The story is set in Barcelona shortly after the Spanish Civil War. Written originally in Spanish, and translated by Lucia Graves, this tome has something for everyone.

A young Daniel visits the Cemetery of Forgotten Books with his father a few years after the loss of his mother. Throughout the halls and pathways that are the Cemeter
...more
Madeline
"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 the pages, its spirit grows and strengthens. This place was already ancient when my father brought me here for the first time, many years ago. Perhaps as old as the city itself. Nobody knows for certain how long it has existed, or who c ...more
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The Perks Of Bein...: * The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - September 2015 2 8 Aug 30, 2015 11:25AM  
Do I carry on with this? 183 1364 Aug 08, 2015 06:26AM  
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Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a Spanish novelist. Born in Barcelona in 1964, he has lived in Los Angeles, United States, since 1994, and works as a scriptwriter aside from writing novels.

His first novel, El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of 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
...more
More about Carlos Ruiz Zafón...

Other Books in the Series

El cementerio de los libros olvidados (3 books)
  • El juego del ángel (El cementerio de los libros olvidados, #2)
  • The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3)
El juego del ángel (El cementerio de los libros olvidados, #2) The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) Marina The Prince of Mist (Niebla, #1) The Midnight Palace (Niebla, #2)

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“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” 4185 likes
“Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.” 2880 likes
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