I love books which deal with... well, books. Is there a better way to honour the medium you've dedicated yourself to tha4.5 stars (copied from my blog)
I love books which deal with... well, books. Is there a better way to honour the medium you've dedicated yourself to than to write about it? Libraries, book shops, the smell of old paper, endless hours spent on immersing yourself in a story and its characters, bringing them to life, if only in your imagination... The last time I was dragged right into a novel, a true page-turner, with hardly any means to escape seems to have been ages ago. It's good to know that it's still possible.
In a way, Zafón's writing reminded me of Charles Dickens. A vivid and colourful style, weird and unique characters as well as a villain straight from hell. The plot is mysterious, thrilling, romantic, sad, tragic, artistically convoluted, and there's always room for a pinch of humour, something that is extremely important to me. Sometimes he goes somewhat overboard and there's a little too much drama, but I've always had issues with that, so it's probably just me. I've never been particularly interested in Spain, and I know literally nothing about Barcelona, but there were moments when I could almost smell the books in the Sempere book shop, when I could see the remains of the Spanish Civil War, the poverty and general misery which resulted from that war and the Franco regime. Zafón manages to interweave his plot with the historic events of that time in a very clever manner. You get a nice history lesson without even really noticing it.
The author also uses mirror and circle images. The book basically ends the same way it started. Daniel Sempere's life shows obvious parallels to Julián Carax's life even though Daniel isn't - at least in the beginning - fully aware of it. From a Montblanc pen to a forbidden love, their lives are like distorted reflections with some major differences which allow Daniel to escape a fate similar to Julián's.
Of course even "The Shadow of the Wind" isn't without flaws. (view spoiler)[I knew almost immediately that Lain Coubert, the devil himself in Julián Carax's novel, is actually Carax himself. It was just too predictable and obvious, so when Daniel reads Nuria Montfort's story, I wasn't the tiniest bit surprised that my suspicion was confirmed.
Julián and the love of his life, Penélope, turned out to be siblings, and that was just too much for my taste. There was enough reason for Penélope's father to seperate the young lovers. Carax was only the son of a hatter, he impregnated a rich and powerful man's daughter - people have been hunted down and killed for much less. The incest drama wasn't necessary and pretty cheap. (hide spoiler)]
Overall "The Shadow of the Wind" is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's not one of those novels which change your life, at least not as far as I am concerned, but it did perfectly what I demand of a book the most - it made me forget everything else around me. That's one of the highest praises I can give.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more