Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind is one of those huge, sprawling books that is pretty much impossible to summarize and fairly difficult to even introduce adequately. (Various reviewers have likened it to the works of Umberto Eco and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, if that gives you any idea of the type of book we’re talking about.) But it was so very good that I’ll give it a shot.
Early one morning in 1945, Daniel’s father—a bookseller in Barcelona just after the Spanish Civil War—takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a repository for books in danger of being, well, forgotten. Daniel is told to choose one book—a book that will be his responsibility to protect and cherish throughout his entire life. He chooses a volume entitled The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax and reads it into the wee hours of the morning. But when he tries to find other books by the same author, he finds a tangled web of intrigue. Carax has indeed written several other books, but all of the copies have disappeared. In fact, Daniel appears to have the last copy of one of his novels. Then he’s approached by one of his father’s rivals, the wealthy Don Gustavo Barcelo, who wants to purchase the book from Daniel for an exorbitant sum. Then he is threatened by a scarred man who wants to purchase the book and becomes quite angry when refused…and that’s all in the first fifty pages.
Good stuff. Highly recommended.