The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Published in 2004
I wish I had the way with words that Carlos Ruiz Zafon has. Then, perhaps, I would be able to adequately describe the way I feel about this novel. For me, this will be one of those books that will remain with me forever, the characters easily remembered, the story seared into my memory like a beautiful tattoo. I will attempt to describe what it is about and how much you should savor this book but I am sure my insufficient ability will hinder me.
The time is postwar Barcelona, 1945, when 10-year-old Daniel Sempere wakes from a horrible nightmare. To his horror, he can no longer remember his beloved mother's face. His father tries to comfort him so to amuse his son, he takes him to a secret library; The Cemetery of Lost Books. There, Daniel is allowed to "adopt" one book. There, calling to him in that dark, mysterious chamber, Daniel finds "The Shadow of the Wind" by Julian Carax. Voraciously, Daniel reads his new book in just one day, and having fallen under its' spell, he begins a search that will him many years. Along the way he meets femme fatales, a witty and delightfully horny beggar, a horrifyingly disfigured man, and in turn uncovers a tale of murder, madness, and terrible secrets that many would pay any price to keep underground. And as Daniel makes his way through Barcelona society, both high and low, he comes to understand that his own part in The Shadow of the Wind is more than that of a simple reader.
My Favorite Quotes:
"…the pleasure of reading, of exploring the recesses of the soul, of letting myself be carried away by imagination, beauty, and the mystery of fiction and language."
"Some things can only be seen in the shadow."
"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul"
"…in truth books have no owner."
"…observed her hands spread like wings on her lap, the suggestion of her fragile waist under the alpaca folds, the shape of her shoulders, the extreme paleness of her neck, the line of her lips, which I would have given my soul to stroke with the tip of my fingers…."
"Don't let that upset you then. With women the best part is the discovery. There's nothing like the first time, nothing. You don't know what life is until you undress a woman the first time. A button at a time, like peeling a hot sweet potato on a winter's night."
"Television, my dear Daniel is the Antichrist, and I can assure you that after only three or four generations, people will no longer even know how to fart on their own and humans will return to living in caves, to medieval savagery, and to the general state of imbecility that slugs overcame back in the Pleistocene era. Our world will not die as a result of a bomb, as the papers say, it will die of laughter, of banality, of making a joke of everything, and a lousy joke at that."
"There are no second chances in life, except to feel remorse."
"Someone once said that the moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you've already stopped loving that person forever."