Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, 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 Julian 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.
When I started reading this book, I got pretty bored because it was like watching an old-fashioned telenovela although, I should have expected since the story setting was in 1945. It was like a usual plot of a boy who lost his mom, whose dad was still mourning. He finds an elder girl and falls in love, and gets heartbroken, brutally. He finds a book written by a mysterious author and unfolds a tragic story, and that’s when the plot suddenly became so compelling.
I couldn’t help but smile at the familiarity of the story to the Tagalog movies set when our country was still a Spanish colony. I even felt like reading Noli Me Tangere at some point. I love novels set in the olden days, like pre-cell phone days where characters send letters that never reached the recipient, and when characters agreed to meet up at a train station and one does not show up, both of them didn’t know what happened to each other.
The novel has elements of fear, anger, disgust, fate, defeat, tragedy, and love in all its forms. I couldn’t help but (almost) cry with Nuria because of her undying love for Julian, and I couldn’t help but feel sad for Julian, who lived in the shadows and watched his loved ones live their lives while he hid in the dark. I couldn’t help but feel angry and disgusted with Inspector Fumero for his dirty, political games.
I loved how Daniel grew from a boy who fell in love with a blind older woman to a wise young man who fought for the woman he loved and for Julian, the author he adored the most. He is a curious, valiant young man ~ a typical protagonist in a telenovela, someone you’ll grow to love.
I’ve never had so many notes from a novel because there are just so many quotable lines. The writing was so beautiful and romantic. Here are some of the quotes:
~ There are worse prisons than words.
~ A story is a letter the author writes to himself to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.
~ Memories are worse than bullets.
~ Coincidences are scars of fate.
~ Remember me, even if its only in a corner and secretly. Don’t let me go.
~ As long as we are remembered, we remain alive.
~ I leafed through the pages inhaling the enchanted scent of promise that comes with all new books.
The Shadow of the Wind is the first of the four-book of the series ‘ Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and I really would like to read the other three.
I like this book, and I think I missed many good quotes initially, so I think I’d reread this soon.