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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 (1637 )
5 star
 (680)
4 star
 (437)
3 star
 (295)
2 star
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Overall
4.0 (693 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (45)
1 star
 (34)
Story
4.2 (681 )
5 star
 (345)
4 star
 (191)
3 star
 (93)
2 star
 (29)
1 star
 (23)
Performance
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  •  
    Kelly FORT WORTH, TX, United States 02-20-10
    Kelly FORT WORTH, TX, United States 02-20-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
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    "Tired head!!"

    This book was recommended by a friend, but after making myself listen to almost 6 hours i finally called it quits because I had tried head from trying to concentrate. Narration is good and the beginning of the book was really interesting but it got very convaluted.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-29-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    8
    2
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    "So Sad"

    Very light. So light it's see through.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janis Storrs, CT, USA 08-27-06
    Janis Storrs, CT, USA 08-27-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Way too much wind"

    Despite this book's popularity, I found it hard to get into and not much more rewarding as it went along: too many characters were introduced, each telling the same shadowy story again and again, with little point, little individualized character development, weak attempts at humor, little suspense, and no reward for patient efforts at extracting something--anything--of significance from the whole endeavor. The reader tried valiantly to inject some life into the text, but, to my mind, his exaggerated spookiness and odd use of accents only made the whole thing more tiresome.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    swimming rabbit United States 01-22-14
    swimming rabbit United States 01-22-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    39
    15
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    "A tragic waste of time"

    I kept thinking this story would get better--after all, the basic plot had so much potential, didn't it? A secret library! Well, no real spoilers, but the book--which ended up taking me FOREVER to get through (I almost quit so so many times but kept thinking maybe it would take a turn)--was a whole lot of nothing.

    No real story at all. Just a couple interesting characters--and no real story. You keep thinking something interesting will happen--some twist, some connection between all the random pieces--but there is no real mystery, no real wonder, no real anything.

    There are enough negative reviews on Amazon that I should've listened to, but I ended up wasting a great deal of time trying to give this story a chance. What a shame.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melody Campbell, CA, USA 09-24-07
    Melody Campbell, CA, USA 09-24-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    104
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    115
    8
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    "Half way through and not sure I'll ever finish it"

    I liked the idea of the book and at times it's interesting. I tend to get lost in excessive, unimportant details and ramblings about vague side-stories that go on and on and on...then I've lost interest and leave it for several days before trying to get into it again. It's probably the worst audio book I've ever listened to in that it just isn't holding my attention. I would not recommend it at all.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carla Pasadena, CA, USA 10-30-09
    Carla Pasadena, CA, USA 10-30-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    30
    2
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    0
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    "A Long Read"

    I'm not a fan of novels, but felt an urge to hear a mystery that would keep me listening. Instead I found the novel tedious. One third of the book could have easily been edited with no loss to the story.
    The narration was fine; the piano music, written specifically for the book by the author, was over the top.
    I wouldn't recommend the book.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Grant Rocky River, OH, US 01-02-12
    Julia Grant Rocky River, OH, US 01-02-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "In the end, a disappointment"
    Would you try another book from Carlos Ruiz Zafon and/or Jonathan Davis?

    Probably not. The book engaged me at first, but it went on way too long (and I have listened to many long books--just don't like it if, in the end, they aren't worth it). The reader was inconsistent in his accent and pronunciations--felt affected.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    A disappointing end to a book that started out strong. I wanted to love this one, and did not end up doing so. I did finish it, however--can't say that for every single book.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes


    Did The Shadow of the Wind inspire you to do anything?

    No


    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ranvel CANTON, OH, United States 01-05-11
    Ranvel CANTON, OH, United States 01-05-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    1
    Overall
    "An audiobook that distorts message"

    This is the worst audiobook I've ever listened to and anyone who was looking for an example to show how listening to a book distorts the message in comparison with reading a book, it is this production. Looking back now, the only reason I finished it was to be able to talk about it with those who so highly recommended it. I now know that that is not a good reason to finish an F-Grade work.

    Jonathan Davis has a huge range of voices and a great command of the language so I can only place the blame on the producer of this, the worst audiobook ever. For some reason, the producer choose to have the narrator be a naive child and this completely distorts the original message and meaning of the reading of the book.

    I will wait maybe 5 years and then come back to this book so as to read it in print and without the prejudices imposed by the producer.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Vancouver, BC, Canada 09-01-10
    Rebecca Vancouver, BC, Canada 09-01-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Cool story, cheesy audio production."

    I am an avid "reader" of Audible books; thus I have come to have preferences about production styles. This narrator is ok, but tends to be overly affected in the voice of the "evil" characters. It feels in places as though the production were aimed at a very young (or at least undiscerning) audience. The real detracter here is the use of terribly cheesy music to emphasis sentimental or crucial parts of the story. I wish I had read this book in text.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Arlington, VA, United States 04-11-12
    Sandra Arlington, VA, United States 04-11-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    117
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    60
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    Performance
    Story
    "Out of Step"

    After all the glowing reviews, I was prepared to be moved, captivated, engrossed. But I guess I'm out of step with all the other reviewers, and just don't get it. The characters are rendered by the author as fixed and static. Character development by caricature is stultifying.

    For once, I'm disappointed by the narrator - the lethargy in the voice, the blandness of English accent and this is a Spanish novel...just didn't work for me either.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
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