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Publisher's Summary

Barcelona, 1945: Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his 11th birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel's father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax's work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it, his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness, and doomed love.
An uncannily absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books, The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storyteller's art.
Translated by Lucia Graves.
©2001 Carlos Ruiz Zafon; 2004 Lucia Graves (P)2004 Penguin Audio
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Critic Reviews

"If you thought the true gothic novel died with the 19th century, this will change your mind. Shadow is the real deal, a novel full of cheesy splendor and creaking trapdoors, a novel where even the subplots have subplots; this is one gorgeous read." (Stephen King)
"Superbly entertaining." (Washington Post Book World)
"Carlos Ruiz Zafon has written a masterful novel of hope, mystery, and love, made more superb on audio." (AudioFile
"Part detective story, part boy's adventure, part romance, fantasy, and gothic horror, the intricate plot is urged on by extravagant foreshadowing and nail-nibbling tension. This is rich, lavish storytelling." (Booklist)  
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Rebecca on 07-17-05

Have the book handy

The staging of this book is great. The plot is interesting and the characters all have depth...but if you skip a day or two while you are listening to the book, you may have trouble keeping things straight. For most of the novel, the story is actually two similar stories, each with its own set of cooresponding characters. What can make the audio version especially difficult to follow is the sheer number of characters, all with Latin names. This is further complicated by the fact that many minor characters are also addressed by name and for the non-Spanish readers, the street names and places can also sound like names adding to your distraction. Here is an example, Calle Tallers, Nuria Monfort, Lain Coubert, Jorge Aldaya, Fumero, Don Fredico, Fermin, Miquel Moliner, Mr Cabestany and Dr. Anacleto.. The first is a street, the next group major characters we need to remember and the last is a publisher and a then a doctor of less importance. All appear within a few pages of each other and represent less than half the characters you will have to keep straight in your head. In the book it is fairly easy to keep all the plotlines and people organized. When you only have the audio version to rely on you may not keep enough detail in memory to fully enjoy all the nuances. I finally bought a copy of the book so I could go back over the parts I was fuzzy on. I enjoyed the audio much more with the book handy.

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114 of 116 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Katherine on 05-21-10

Great With One Exception

I loved this book, and would have unreservedly given it five stars both for the writing and for the narration, except for the publisher's poor choice to include the author's badly written, ham-handed piano accompaniment at the beginning of each section and during the moments of greatest emotional and descriptive impact.

I understand that Carlos Ruiz Zafon wrote the music himself, and that indicates to me that it must have been included as a favor to him, but that decision does no favors for the book. At the moment when I was most engrossed in the story, the music would fade in and completely ruin my concentration and enjoyment of the story. It's poorly and tritely composed in the fashion of the worst kind of high-end department store parlor accompaniment, and completely detracts from the feeling and quality of the book.

If you can manage to ignore the music, the story is wonderful, with amazing character depth and a wonderfully circuitous plot, and Jonathan Davis's narration is beautiful, utilizing the characteristic Castilian lisp for the places and names and giving wonderful voice to the many characters.

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129 of 133 people found this review helpful

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