Mark Lawrence's Reviews > The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
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it was amazing

This is a book about books, a story about stories. It starts and ends in a library of sorts, themes and plots are echoed across decades, tied together by actors who find their roles changing, and by a pen that links two cycles of the story and has its own tale that started before and goes on beyond.

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

Zafón is a master of prose, he is eminently quotable even in translation. The story is set in Barcelona and stretches from the turn of the 19th century to the sixties, though focusing most heavily in post civil war Spain recovering in the 40s and 50s. It's a bitter sweet story, as much about the slow acceptance of loss as about fighting against it or finding happiness.

"Most of us have the good or bad fortune of seeing our lives fall apart so slowly we barely notice it."

The setting is vividly brought to life. Many of the characters live in poverty or close to it, and the ventures into Paris bring to mind Orwell's descriptions. Barcelona is the star of the piece though.

"one of the many places in Barcelona where the nineteenth century had not yet been served its eviction notice"

Shadow of the Wind is a love story, or two love stories, or several love stories to be honest. We focus on Daniel, a young man growing up, and becoming obsessed with the story of another man, a writer whose young life (decades earlier) is unfolded for us through Daniel's investigations. Both of them finding difficult and potentially tragic love.

"Her voice was pure crystal, transparent and so fragile I feared that her words would break if I interrupted them."

The Shadow of the Wind has a lot to say about books and reading, rather less to say about the business of writing though.

"Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you."

"Novels, as everyone knew, were for women and for people with nothing better to do."

It's a complex interwoven plot, not without threat and violence, with a series of reveals that undermine what you think you know.

A fascinating and lovely read, and a nice break from the fantasy books that I have read almost exclusively over the last 5 years.

Give it a try!


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Reading Progress

December 11, 2018 – Started Reading
December 11, 2018 – Shelved
December 20, 2018 –
page 250
51.33% "The thick plottens!"
December 29, 2018 –
page 398
81.72% "All getting a bit depressing! :o"
December 30, 2018 –
page 419
86.04% ""Most of us have the good or bad fortune of seeing our lives fall apart so slowly we barely notice it.""
December 31, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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message 1: by H4xxxish (new) - added it

H4xxxish The sequels are also quite special and they bring so much more depth to the story but The Shadow of the Wind is my favourite of them all. An absolutely wonderful novel.


Kathe A wonderful read, the sequels do continue to give more depth to the journey of
reading The Cemetery of Books series, I am re reading the series, again, this time with a gaggle of early teen.. Zafon’s most recent release in translation, Labrynith of the Spirits is in the house awaiting .


Brad Kirk Labyrinth of the Spirits was awesome. Zafon states at the beginning of Labyrinth that each of the four books, while connected, can be read alone and in any order. I look forward to reading Shadow of the Wind. Truly a gifted writer.


Jonathan Ford This was a fantastic book. I know he wasn’t the main character but every time Fermin was present, he stole the show


Mark Lawrence Jonathan wrote: "This was a fantastic book. I know he wasn’t the main character but every time Fermin was present, he stole the show"

He did!


Susie I read this book mostly on the tram, going one place or another, and the number of people who came up to me and made comments about the book was astonishing. I found this to be more than about the books themselves, than to be about how those books affected people. Outside of this book, you see how much this book itself connects people, like the story comes outside of itself.


message 7: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen Richter This was not on my radar, but the review has put it in my " To Be Read" File.


Mel (Epic Reading) Been on my print shelf to read for ages it seems. Vaulting it to higher on my TBR. Thank you for the wonderful review Mr. Lawrence.


Matthew Marston It’s fantastic isn’t it. I loved this whole series!


Serena and Stories In my TBR list. I am looking forward...


message 11: by Jenny (new) - added it

Jenny I can’t wait to read it! Coming from you this high praise and a great recommendation. I am loving One Word Kill btw. Reading it now. Your prose is lovely.


Mark Lawrence Jenny wrote: "I can’t wait to read it! Coming from you this high praise and a great recommendation. I am loving One Word Kill btw. Reading it now. Your prose is lovely."

That's great to hear! Limited Wish and Dispel Illusion are waiting for you :)


message 13: by Wendy (new) - added it

Wendy Poteet L


Mark Lawrence Wendy wrote: "L"

They say brevity is the soul of wit.


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