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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 (1732 )
5 star
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4.0 (778 )
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Story
4.2 (763 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    JMinSF 07-08-11
    JMinSF 07-08-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    4
    2
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    "Melodramatic and marvelous"

    I hate schlock, and this book is wonderful. Some of the other reviewers have said it quite well, consider this a resounding "yes" to their praise. I can imagine listening to this again some day.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 03-24-11
    Stephanie ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 03-24-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    87
    12
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    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Narrator is brilliant; piano is distracting"

    As others have noted, Zafon's own piano score does not help this narration. Davis is a great narrator who does the Spanish impeccably and adds distinctive touches to each character's voice, but when the piano came on I was so distracted. It tends to crank up whenever a woman appears, too, as if we are supposed to take notice of how very ephemeral and mysterious she is. (All his female characters are ephemeral and mysterious.) I hope the producers take note of these comments and consider removing that piano from later editions. I also agree wholeheartedly with the comment to have the physical book on hand (mine was from the library) to keep the characters and especially the POV character straight. When we went into Nuria's POV, I began to get very confused, and even Davis's narration couldn't help me. Otherwise, very enjoyable listen.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Greenwood, IN, United States 05-21-10
    Leslie Greenwood, IN, United States 05-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    154
    6
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    "Excellent example of a book best LISTENED to"

    I am so glad I experienced this novel as an audiobook! True, there is sometimes too much of a good thing in some of the lengthy descriptions the author uses, but the style fits with the fantasy world of the story. The narrator fits his emotions and pitch with each character and brings them to life, yet still allows the reader to imagine the rest. The icing on the cake is the piano music composed by the author. The notes add texture to what you experience. The flaws in this book are more than made up for by its strengths, earning it 5 stars.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Nightingale Florida 07-14-09
    B. Nightingale Florida 07-14-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "Loved this Book!"

    I started reading this book, not remembering much of what it was about. I was immediately captivated by the story line, the wonderful descriptions, and characters. What an adventure. It was hard for me to stop listening!

    The narrator, Jonathan Davis, was wonderful; and his depictions of the many characters were flawless. I will be looking for more books authored by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and more books narrated by Jonathan Davis.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Atlanta, GA, United States 05-06-09
    John Atlanta, GA, United States 05-06-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
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    12
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    "Wonderful book"

    This is a truly wonderful book. Terrific storytelling and character development. It is one of those books that yo do not want to end because you enjoy the characters so much. The reader does a great job as well in bringing it to life. I look forward to reading the prequel.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hollis Fairfax, CA, USA 07-13-07
    Hollis Fairfax, CA, USA 07-13-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    26
    4
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    "Just as good listening as reading it!"

    I loved this book when I first read it, and it was also great listening. This is probably one of the best books I've read in years. Beautifully written, suspenseful, wonderful love story set in mysterious Franco era Barcelona. Would recommend for a book club reading.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PaintPots The Hague Netherlands 06-10-07
    PaintPots The Hague Netherlands 06-10-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
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    20
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    3
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    Overall
    "great listen"

    This is one of those few books that makes you drive the car extra blocks so that you can keep listening. It is multi-layered with plots going deeper and deeper. But it is not hard to follow. The audio production is excellent - the voices clear but with interesting accents. There is a liberal use of music which adds to the already deeply atmospheric book. One of my favorites for a long time. A good story, well produced.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianna B. Johnston Alexandria, Va United States 03-09-07
    Dianna B. Johnston Alexandria, Va United States 03-09-07 Member Since 2005

    DBJ

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lyrical"

    A beautifully crafted book superbly rendered by the narrator!!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frances Rochester, NY, USA 01-01-07
    Frances Rochester, NY, USA 01-01-07 Member Since 2005
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    "A must-read"

    Wonderful as an audiobook, one of my absolute favorites. The narrator does a wonderful job and his performance adds to an already wonderful book. The decision to include music was a real bonus. I highly recommend this one.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Aryeh bedford, ny United States 07-03-06
    Julia Aryeh bedford, ny United States 07-03-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "what a great find"

    this was one of the most beautifully written books I have read in a long time. the writing is almost poetic in places and the story is intruiging and mysterious. there are things to learn all through the book with many turns and twists along the way. did not want this book to end and the narrator was absolutely fantastic. loved this book. enjoy

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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