The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Book 1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Epub)


Ebook Info

  • Published: 2005
  • Number of pages: 506 pages
  • Format: Epub
  • File Size: 0.35 MB
  • Authors: Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

“Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind. Really, you should.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“Wonderous . . . masterful . . . The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero.” —Entertainment Weekly (Editor’s Choice)

User’s Reviews

Review “Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind. Really, you should.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post”Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges for a sprawling magic show.” —The New York Times Book Review”Wonderous . . . masterful . . . The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero.” —Entertainment Weekly (Editor’s Choice)”One gorgeous read.” —Stephen King

Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:

⭐ I gave this read a little over 100 pages, and stopped to consult some reviews. Negative reviews (the very few of them) reflected my perspective, and as such I didn’t see the issues I was having with the book changing, so I called it.In spite of the flowery adjective-filled writing, substance is lacking. The plot is slow, it’s hard to feel engaged with the characters, and the mystery is… boring. I searched the reviews for “page-turner” prior to purchase. We must have been reading different books because this, my friends, is NOT a page-turner. It is actually the kind of book you pick up the next day, start to read, and realize you have forgotten where the character is now, who he is having a conversation with, etc.This is all subjective of course. What inspired me to actually leave a negative review was the depiction of women in the story. Female characters are either presented as large busted maternal old maids, or alternatively described in terms of their “waist of a mannequin” “classically proportioned calves” or “china doll’s complexion”. By the end of my valiant 100 pages, every time a new female appeared, my eyes were already half-rolled in preparation.

⭐ I cannot understand how the reviews for this book are so positive. I’m about halfway through the novel and if I weren’t reading it as some kind of book club thing I would have either thrown out or, more ironically, burned the book with how infuriating the words riddled with misogyny are. The only thing I can figure is that the book either appeals to misogynists in the first place or I’m somehow reading a completely different book. The prose are fascinating though some may find them a bit too flowery, and the setting is well done. I do like the parallelism of the mystery, though it’s a bit of an overdone theme/literary tool, but I’m fine with it for entertainment fodder. But the way female characters are written is beyond infuriating. Every woman is described by how sexually appealing or not they are to the main character in great detail of their looks – even the women the narrator only knows from secondhand stories, some retold from what we’re lead to believe are straight women who would not believably describe the sexiness of a body of a woman and their breasts. A woman cannot enter the scene without being described as matronly and not “womanly” (because of course womanhood is defined by how attractive and/or curvy a woman is), vain and a narcissistic (fitting the lovely stereotype that if a woman cares for or enjoys her appearance she is vacuous and shallow all while the novel still enforces that a woman’s looks is her most valuable asset, followed of course by her maternal instinct), or attractive in a way that feels like the author put more thought into creating his ideal woman rather than creating a believable character (and just forget development entirely because it starts and ends at their appearance). And the women in the novel aren’t just occasionally objectified, it’s done in what feels like every paragraph and is constantly breaking immersion and certainly ruins much of the escapism that goes in hand with the rest of the style of the novel. How many times can the author go in to describe a main love interest’s pale skin? It’s definitely past the point of bordering on a fetish that I definitely did not need nor want to know about the author – and just the fact that all the core love interests are the palest of the pale definitely starts to enforce that it comes from the author’s own “tastes”, especially when you realize Barcelona is by the Mediterranean sea and that tanning was popularized as early as the 20s, a good two decades before this book takes place – so, no, it wasn’t “just the time period” (not to mention the one black woman that has so far shown up was apparently an evil witch doctor type so..). And of course the character that is made to be otherwise some kind of progressive mouthpiece for the author, who I think we’re supposed to like and root for or even find humorous, drops his “pearls of wisdom” constantly throughout the novel. He really can never stop talking about what he “knows” about woman and “love” to the point where I’m not sure how he could have possibly had done anything politically active enough to have corrupt law enforcement chase after him when all he does is talk about women and sex and where I was more or less rooting for his character to be killed off or disappear. And is it really crazy to believe that characters which are meant to lean further politically left on the spectrum might also be more feminist than that? Feminism was brought up like once in a positive manner, in the same chapter and by the same character objectifying some movie actress excessively. Somehow the author manages to touch upon other politics in passing but nearly completely evades feminism which I’m struggling to believe was just nonexistent at all in leftist circles or was in no way relevant when the politics at the time, happening in the background of, seem to be both a thematic choice and part of the setting the scene for the time period.

⭐ I write about this book because I loved it, and I want to remember it. In writing, I am forced to reflect upon how much pleasure I derived from reading the book.It is a gothic tale set in 1945, Barcelona. Daniel, the bookseller’s son, is introduced to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and makes his selection of one book from the labyrinth to take home and care for. In doing so, he finds himself involved in a real-life mystery. You see, the book he selected was written by a man named Julian Carax, and very well may be the last book in existence by Carax. Someone has been finding the Carax works and destroying them.I love that it is a book about a book! I love the story, but I also love the writing itself, and how Zafon has a style that makes me want to keep reading. The man is a beautiful writer. The “Angel of the Mist” story that begins on page 233 is a haunting touch, as is Maria Jacinta’s detailing of her encounters with Zacarias (begin on page 260), and the storyline of Daniel and Fermin visiting her in the asylum.I loved this first book so much that I immediately started reading the second book in the series, and I am about 200 pages in to “The Angel’s Game,” right now! To think, I found this gorgeous read because of a visit to the Book Warehouse over the July 4 weekend, where I unwittingly purchased the third book in the series first!

⭐ 5 starsIn 1945 following Spain’s civil war a man takes his ten-year old son Daniel to a library called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There Daniel must pick out one book. He chooses called The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax.What follows is a lyrical journey of Daniel’s life and adventures throughout his lifelong search for more information about Julian Carax. On his journey through life, Daniel meets all kinds of interesting people including an individual named Lain Coubert (who happens to be the main character in The Shadow of the Wind),who is determined to burn all of Carax’ novels. Is this person the devil? A demon of some sort? He reeks of burning and essentially has no facial features. He threatens Daniel and all that he holds dear for not turning over the Carax book. He also meets an evil fascist police inspector named Fumero who has people tortured and killed in the basement of the police station. He also threatens Daniel and his family and friends.He travels with Fermin, who works at the bookstore with Daniel and his father, to a school at which Julian attended. There they charm and trick one of the clerics who grew up with Julian to talk about him. They learn a great deal about him. Fermin does not miss the parallels between Julian and Daniel’s lives. They also learn that Julian went to school with Fumero.They go to visit Penelope’s (Julian’s lost love), nanny in a run down and filthy care home. She tells them the story of Penelope and Julian’s aborted love affair. Fermin again notices the similarities between Julian and Daniel’s lives. On their way home, they are set upon by Fumero and his thugs. Fermin receives a terrible beating.But this does not stop their search for answers. Daniel comes into the possession of a lengthy letter to him that was written by a woman before she died. And with this letter, the truth comes out; the whole sordid and awful truth.This is my first Carlos Ruiz Zafon novel, but I can promise it won’t be my last. I truly enjoyed this novel. It is very well written and plotted, and totally without any wasted words. That’s a real achievement for a novel this long. The suspense and intrigue start immediately with this book, and the level of excitement continues throughout the novel. The use of language is beautiful and Mr. Zafon really knows how to turn a phrase, as it were.

⭐ Awhile back ago my brother recommended this book to me and while I saved it on my wishlist, I ended up reading a slew of other books instead. A year or so passes and my brother once again recommends this book to me. I decided to download the Kindle version and check it out. As we all do, I had painted a picture of what I thought this book would be about and how it would be laid out after reading the summary. Oh boy was I wrong. This book was so much more interesting, detailed, complicated, and deeper than I could have imagined. I couldn’t take my eyes off this book yet I didn’t want it to ever end. I cannot emphasize enough how much I loved this book. It’s also the type of book I know I could read over-and-over and still come across new observations.My brother and I were discussing this book as I was nearing the end of it. The sheer level of excitment and enthusiasm we had for this book convinced my sister, who was with us and listening, decided she too needed to read it. Note that my sister is not a reader, never has been and that’s ok. But for her to actually want to read something is a huge deal. She ended up reading it and was just as obsessed as my brother and I. My brother has decided to re-read it to freshen up on the details so that way the three of us can properly discuss this book, in fact, I’ll probably re-read it again myself. THAT’S how awesome this book is.

⭐ I just finished this book that had many good qualities, yet I’m very relieved that it’s finally over. A good book generally leaves me missing the characters and the world in which they lived, but I was fine wrapping this one up. I did like the detail in writing, yet it wore me out..! Idk if I could be any more ambivalent about this book!I also spent a good amount of time looking up words. I’m not too proud to admit. There were so many references, places and vocabulary that I wanted to know and understand in order to keep myself within the depth of the storyline. I appreciate that in books, but along with many superfluous details, this book borderlines on being tedious at times.One thing that really bothers me about some books including this one is when a character or characters blossom so beautifully and are written about in great detail, only to then be left wilting without much more storyline for them…No matter what, I do recommend this book. But I don’t think I’ll be reading anymore from the author, at least not for a while…

⭐ I usually read non-fiction such as history or biography. Occasionally I read a quick, easy mystery like CJ Boxx or Carl Hiaasen to break up the monotony Since my wife and I are going to Barcelona for our honeymoon I decided to read this book as it came highly recommended. It did not disappoint! I haven’t read a complex, lengthy novel in years and I was lamenting the possibility of not being able to finish it before our trip since I usually read a few pages at night before falling asleep. Since I was laid up for a few days with a bad back I was able to finish it in record time (for me). This novel has it all: twisting plot, richly descriptive language, complex characters, and a setting which I am looking forward to visiting (thanks to the walking tour map included in the book). I am looking forward to reading more of Zafon’s novels.

⭐ I have to tell you, I bought this book after I saw in the opening credits of Liam Neeson’s movie, “The Commuter.” I thought, “If it’s good enough for Liam, it’s good enough for me, ha!”I really enjoyed the book. It’s not action packed but the story is incredibly absorbing and extremely well written. The only reason for the four stars is that it does drag in many parts. In addition, and this is no knock against the author or this book (it’s a knock against me!) the writing is incredibly advanced! It took me a while to read this because there were many times I had to put it down because I felt like I was reading a text book! and my head was too full =) However, I continued through it, and I am glad I did! Definitely recommend this story!

⭐ I was excited about reading what was touted as a well-written literary mystery taking place in Barcelona. However, the gratuitous violence against women — from graphic descriptions of actual spousal beatings to the constant degrading comments and descriptions of women by the male characters were overwhelming and repulsive. It destroyed all interest in the book for me.

⭐ I tried hard to get into this book, but finally deleted it from my Kindle at 25% read; life’s too short to spend reading bad books. I agree with what several other reviewers have said: There’s an overwhelming amount of sexism and misogyny and I’ll add xenophobia. Yes, it was written 15+ years ago and takes place in 1950s Spain, which was sexist, misogynist and xenophobic, but I don’t have time for this today. It’s pretentiously written and words are oddly used; I don’t know whether this is an artifact of the translation or an accurate reflection of the original, but it comes across as lacking discernment rather than literary. Most disappointingly, I simply don’t care about any of the characters (ok, I did feel a little sorry for the protagonist’s long-suffering father, but not enough to get me to keep reading). I’m saddened that this book has won so much international acclaim; maybe it improves dramatically in the remaining 75%—or maybe standards for good reading have just fallen more than I’d thought.


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