Lisa Vegan's Reviews > The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
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Dec 22, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, orphaned-and-quasi-orphaned-kids, novel, books-about-books, bookclub, reviewed, historical-fiction, 1-also-at-lt
Recommended for: fans of literary mysteries, historical fiction, beautiful writing

YES! YES! YES! I read this book for my real word book club and for each book we read we vote and post whether we’d recommend our books to other book clubs. We vote either YES, MAYBE/NOT SURE, or NO. This book I will vote YES. There is a lot to discuss.

Magnificent! It’s beautifully written; the writing is gorgeous. I think the translation is excellent but since I can’t read it in the original Spanish, I can’t vouch for it. There were so many passages that I wanted to write down, so many fabulous quotes I wanted to note, way too many to share here. Besides, I think it’s best for readers of this book to discover them for themselves.

The Cemetery of Forgotten Books really struck my fancy. This is the story of a boy who's the son of a bookseller. He finds and reads a book and becomes obsessed with its history and its author.

This historical fiction literary mystery has so many twists and turns. It’s very suspenseful. It’s quite dark. It was a bit too scary for me. It’s an interesting story, with many sub-stories and a story within a story, having many characters that show character development, and a plot that has amazing complexity. Much to my chagrin, because I often do guess correctly, I figured out very little of what was going on until it was revealed.

It’s not even close to a perfect book though. Even though I kept getting sucked right back in, I felt a lot of irritation when everything kept getting so very drawn out. Also, I had a difficult time understanding most of these people, even though I loved/enjoyed many, especially Fermin, who’s wonderful and memorable!; I simply don’t recognize most of these people. The level of the persistent obsessive behavior was over the top, I thought.

I did appreciate the way the power of story and books and storytelling was illuminated in this book’s story.

What one character does at the end, after what he’s been through, well, I sort of get it, even though a part of me has a hard time understanding.

My paperback copy has a “Walk in the Footsteps of The Shadow of the Wind” section in the back with maps and photos of Barcelona.

I took a very long time to read this book, partly in order to savor it, but I did stay up late to finish this. It became more and more compelling reading as the book continued.

I could honestly rate this book anywhere from 5 stars (the stellar writing, the brilliance of the storytelling) to 3 stars (some unbelievable aspects of the people and mistakes(?) in the plot.) It’s very hard for me to rate. I’m tempted to give it 4 stars as a compromise, but even though I didn’t enjoy parts of it as much as I could have, it’s very hard to not give it 5 stars. 4 ½, I guess, which (even as I’m obsessing) I’ll up to 5 stars. Even though I felt tricked at one point and didn't appreciate it.
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Quotes Lisa Liked

Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened, the wounds of the heart are already too deep.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“People tend to complicate their own lives, as if living weren't already complicated enough.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don’t stop at your station.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“Few things are more deceptive than memories.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Reading Progress

December 22, 2007 – Shelved
November 6, 2010 –
page 1
0.21% "I'll start reading this within the next couple of days."
November 8, 2010 – Started Reading
November 12, 2010 –
page 68
13.96% "Beautifully written. So good that I'm feeling uncomfortable about 2 of my book suggestions for 2 of our next 3 books for my real world book club. If this continues to be so good, I might end up considering it a masterpiece."
November 13, 2010 –
page 81
16.63% "Gorgeous writing and an interesting story. Need to take more time to read it! But it's a book to be savored slowly."
November 15, 2010 –
page 105
21.56% "I have to find some more time to read. Staying off Goodreads would help! ;-)"
November 18, 2010 –
page 142
29.16% "Not in the mood & don't have the time for this book/reading, but it is beautifully written & told. I do hope that it ends up going somewhere!"
November 19, 2010 –
page 148
November 21, 2010 –
page 174
35.73% "Might be a 5 star book; I'll have to see."
November 21, 2010 –
page 228
46.82% "I am engrossed in this beautifully written story."
November 23, 2010 –
page 232
47.64% "It's been ages since I read a wonderful book so slowly."
November 25, 2010 –
page 284
58.32% "Superb and the story is getting more intricate & more and more interesting."
November 26, 2010 –
page 361
74.13% "I keep getting irritated because the story is so drawn out and then I keep getting sucked right back in."
November 27, 2010 –
page 434
89.12% "Unless I can stay up & finish this (unlikely) it may have to wait until Monday. Working all day tomorrow & planning fun all evening. Very suspenseful."
November 28, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Lisa Vegan I just borrowed this copy from the library and put it on my currently reading shelf, even though I have to finish Crusade in Jeans first. This copy has pages coming out though; it's really falling apart. I might buy a paperback used copy or try to reserve another copy of the book.

Lisa Vegan I couldn't get a decent library copy so I bought this edition.

Lisa Vegan Starting tomorrow, day of book club meeting before the meeting to discuss this book.

Angie I like the cover on your book!

Lisa Vegan Angie, It's a great book so far. I have so much to do this weekend but somehow I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow. My book club meeting to discuss it is next Sunday. But I have soooooooooo many other books to read, including a library book that's due next Sunday so I want to read that asap too. So far, it's not renewable because there are holds on it.

Lisa Vegan Chandra, I did! And I suspect it's one of those books where readers would get so much more on a reread! I might want to reread it again someday too. I'm so glad that it was a selection for my real world book club because otherwise I might never have gotten to it.

message 7: by Dana (new)

Dana Hmmm.... sounds very intriguing! Will have to add it to my TBR list!

Lisa Vegan Dana, I recommend it if it appeals to you.

Chandra, Ha re the horror! Those, I'll skip. Yes, I know. I have book 2 on my to-read shelf. As far as I know there are books 2 and 3, and also a prequel, book 0.5. I don't know if I'll get to them though. I often don't continue with series, even when I've loved the first book.

Lisa Vegan Oh, that's a series I'd love to read, but I just haven't gotten to it yet. Will that one book be the last, do you know?

message 10: by Lisa (last edited Apr 23, 2013 09:15AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Chandra wrote: "I'm uncertain if the author has plans for more Enola Holmes books, but I *think* The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye is the last."

That will be fun to read.

I'm dying to read through Z in Sue Grafton's alphabet series, but at the rate she's writing/publishing books, I'm not sure both of us will be alive to see Z.

message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan V has been out for awhile. I don't think there's an estimated date for W. She seems to be taking at least 3 years now between books.

message 12: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Yes, the end is in sight.

Re Night World, that happened with the Earth's Children series and she finally finished it, and most of us wish she hadn't. It took years of waiting, and then it was so, so badly done.

message 13: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Chandra wrote: "Oh that's right!!! I remember that. I only read the first 2 or 3 in the series."

Smart woman!

message 14: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Great review, Lisa!

message 15: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Kim wrote: "Great review, Lisa!"

Thank you, Kim. So was your review! And your review reminded me again of the book, so thank you for writing it.

Carol Magnificent is just the right word for this book.

message 17: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Carol wrote: "Magnificent is just the right word for this book."

Yes, it is. So special.

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