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The Shadow of the Wind | [Carlos Ruiz Zafon]

The Shadow of the Wind

Barcelona, 1945: Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his 11th birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.
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Publisher's Summary

Barcelona, 1945: Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his 11th birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.

Daniel's father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax's work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it, his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness, and doomed love.

An uncannily absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books, The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storyteller's art.

Translated by Lucia Graves.

©2001 Carlos Ruiz Zafon; Translation ©2004 Lucia Graves; (P)2004 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"If you thought the true gothic novel died with the 19th century, this will change your mind. Shadow is the real deal, a novel full of cheesy splendor and creaking trapdoors, a novel where even the subplots have subplots; this is one gorgeous read." (Stephen King)
"Superbly entertaining." (Washington Post Book World)
"Carlos Ruiz Zafon has written a masterful novel of hope, mystery, and love, made more superb on audio." (AudioFile)
"Part detective story, part boy's adventure, part romance, fantasy, and gothic horror, the intricate plot is urged on by extravagant foreshadowing and nail-nibbling tension. This is rich, lavish storytelling." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1918 )
5 star
 (811)
4 star
 (526)
3 star
 (335)
2 star
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Overall
4.1 (954 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (939 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (28)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    elly bresz pittsburgh pa 11-12-13
    elly bresz pittsburgh pa 11-12-13 Member Since 2015

    I love all things British especially books written by British writers.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "boring"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    nothing. there is no story here. i had to force myself to listen for 5 hours and cant force myself to listen anymore.


    Has The Shadow of the Wind turned you off from other books in this genre?

    not of the genre but definitely will not read this author


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    narration was excellent - no problem


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    narration was good


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nikki Blum Lakehead, US 03-11-13
    Nikki Blum Lakehead, US 03-11-13 Member Since 2006

    opinionated reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    16
    1
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    0
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    Story
    "OVERWRITTEN, OVERBLOWN, OVERACTED, OVERLONG"

    If Zafron hadn't tried so hard to be clever, he might have written a decent coming of age story. In his effort to make a make an intricate, atmospheric tale, he fell in love with his own words and gave the reader a dull experience that went mostly nowhere, but took a very long time to get there.

    The tinkling New Age piano interludes were lame. And the narrator's meticulous R-rolling and affected Castillian lisp that characterizes Barcelona Spanish made his rendering of the names of people and places -- which were all too frequent anyway -- utterly laughable.

    The was one of my least enjoyable listening experience, EVER.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    criswithcurls Shanghai, China 02-08-13
    criswithcurls Shanghai, China 02-08-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
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    32
    24
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    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable morphs in to enthralling."

    Narrator: This is the second book I have listened to that is narrated by Jonathan Davis. Each time I listened to him read it took me a few chapters to learn to "like" him, for I automatically dislike his narration. HOWEVER, I always end up appreciating him and his voice after a few chapters. So if you automatically dislike him, it just takes some time to get used to his voice (or, at least, it did for me).

    Story: This story is quite enjoyable in the beginning and, as time progresses, becomes quite enthralling. I assume that many of you enjoy books and, if you are looking at this book, you probably enjoy a wide variety of books that stand out from the masses (romance novels, mediocre fiction books about housewives, etc...). If so, you need to listen to this book!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katha Kingwood, TX, United States 02-07-13
    Katha Kingwood, TX, United States 02-07-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
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    96
    24
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    0
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    Story
    "Just didn't care . . ."
    Would you try another book from Carlos Ruiz Zafon and/or Jonathan Davis?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    After numerous hours and many chapters, I still had not found a storyline that I cared about. Beautiful language and structure . . . just didn't care . . .

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. E. Cohen 01-07-13
    R. E. Cohen 01-07-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    63
    7
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    "I could not finish it--endless monologues by whom?"
    What disappointed you about The Shadow of the Wind?

    It started well, but then degenerated into endless monologues by no character--it did not even seem to be a narrator. They went on and on and were completely uninteresting. I finally gave up.


    What was most disappointing about Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s story?

    The endless monologues of "background materials" and fictional history.


    What three words best describe Jonathan Davis’s voice?

    OK but gets monotonous, like the story


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It started well. The outline of the plot is probably interesting and good. But the execution is terrible.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ricardo Austin, TX, United States 11-30-12
    Ricardo Austin, TX, United States 11-30-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Acceptable but bordering on boring"
    What did you like best about The Shadow of the Wind? What did you like least?

    I thought that main characters, except protagonist, had long shadows without the complexity and depth of that characters should have.


    What could Carlos Ruiz Zafon have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Use way less adjectives and reduce melodramatic scenes and sentences.


    What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He does a great job and acts gives character to each character.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    The audio producer inserted music at times that made it distracting and frankly intolerable.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lois Centennial, CO, United States 09-03-12
    Lois Centennial, CO, United States 09-03-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    11
    4
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Didn't finish it!"
    What disappointed you about The Shadow of the Wind?

    Did not get into itt!


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    Wanted to read the series, but couln't make it through the first book!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert GOLDENS BRIDGE, NEW YORK, United States 07-26-10
    Robert GOLDENS BRIDGE, NEW YORK, United States 07-26-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
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    Overall
    "Like Escher in Audio"

    The author takes you through a mystery in a world that bends in on itself; where all roads out take you back in. where things you should have expected are unexpected. Wonderful use of language. At times, I felt that the narrator lied to me a bit... but I forgive him.

    Katherine of Maryland is certainly correct that the music in the audio version is extremely distracting. I often hear audiobooks that have music at the beginning and ending. Sometime you get a bit of music at the end of chapters. None of this works well. But, in this case, the music seems to pop up all the time. It is loud and it is distracting. I would urge that this audio be re-issued with the music track removed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Richmond, VA, USA 08-12-09
    Catherine Richmond, VA, USA 08-12-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    202
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "Great!!"

    I really enjoyed listening to this book. The store was unique and the reader was excellent. I highly recommend this book

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee 03-08-08
    Lee 03-08-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
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    33
    13
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    Overall
    "good, atmospheric but long"

    This is a good book that could have been a better, but I still enjoyed listening to it on a long trip. Very evocative of Spain after the war, and I enjoyed the reader. On the downside, it was very long and sometimes repetitive (perhaps because it's meant for young adults?). And the ending was a disappointment, not really any resolution, from my perspective. still, worth a listen when you want a quiet book to make the time pass.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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