Suzka's Reviews > The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
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's review
Apr 24, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: htl-book-club
Recommended to Suzka by: Karen, our library's book club moderator
Recommended for: anyone who loved The Book Thief
Read in July, 2008

So...I nearly gave up on this book, more from circumstance than anything else. I was only about halfway through it by the day of our book club meeting. A last minute schedule meant that I couldn't even make it to the meeting. And with having our three little monkeys underfoot with all exhuberant summertime energy, I just didn't have the mental space to feel compelled to finish it.

And yet I did. The day before book club (when I still thought I was going), I paged through the second half randomly to see whether I could pull together enough of the story line to not just sit there like a lump. I very rarely do this -- and within about a minute, I found myself shutting the book so as not to ruin it for myself.

I should have only read for about an hour last night; instead, I couldn't stop until I had finished it at nearly 2 am. More than anything, it's a great story (one that weaves in and out of itself.) I can't say that it taught enormous life lessons (well, okay, the "don't lose your love" bit was fairly strong by the end.) It's got some beautiful language. It's translated from Spanish - I'd be very curious to know how the original language resonates. Sadly, my "Me gustan los dulces" and "Quisiero dos tacos con carnitas para llevar" level of Spanish is not going to carry me through nearly 500 pages of rich storytelling.

I have to admit that more than once I lost track of the myriad characters, but it doesn't seem that I really suffered for it. The idea of a Cemetery of Forgotten Books is intriguing. This and a few other settings had a wonderfully underworld-ish Phantom of the Opera vibe. (One of the sweetest moments at the end is when Fermin and Daniel returned to the creepy end-of-the-road Santa Lucia hospice, as promised. You know they're gonna do it, so I'm not spoiling anything.) And as intruiging as anything is how the author includes a street map of Barcelona for anyone to retrace the various settings of the story. I'm a total sucker for such a thing. I might even give this 4 1/2 stars, if I could.
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