The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2001)
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery
I just finished this book after being taken on an epic journey over the course of a week, having picked this book up after years of it being on my TBR pile and my mum recommending it to me. This book was layer upon layer of intricate storytelling, intrigue and beauty – the author paints a Barcelona I am desperate to visit (and thanks to a map in the back I could follow the locations in the book if I ever did go). This book follows Daniel, who is very interested in the author of a book he acquires when he is young, his journey to discover the life of this mysterious author is long, complicated and full of amazing moments.
This book saw different perspectives being used to tell the story, it never grew boring probably for this reason. I was constantly guessing where the story would go, but never was it predictable or weak. Page after page took the reader down a new route of storytelling, revealing new characters and plots, several times this book left my jaw hanging open.
Without the compassion and growth of Daniel as a character, this book could have grown repetitive. We see Daniel go from being a young boy, to a man, he changes as you would expect, picks up friendships along the way and looses some. Not only is this a book of discovering the story of a writer, it is also a coming of age story about a young man trying to find his place in the world. It is interesting to see the contrasts between Daniel’s life and the author of the book he is trying to find out more about, the mirroring of these two different lives foreshadows a future for Daniel that really he is complete control over. It is all about decisions, the book is split into stages of Daniel’s life, at each point he must face certain decisions that will alter his future in some way. The author captures these moments really well, they are times we all face, but don’t always realise when we are in them, nor did Daniel.
Without noticing, this book had made me care for many different characters within its pages. The end of the book offered a summary for where everyone was now and that brought tears to my eyes, I don’t know why – it just felt like the end of a journey I suppose. I think I could have done with a character glossary when reading this, the names were all Spanish and there were so many of them that I really had to keep up with who was who, especially when we revisited older characters.
Overall, this book was mesmerising, I completely fell into it and read into the early hours of the morning, which is something that I haven’t done for a long time. This is the perfect ‘just one more chapter’ book!