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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 (1997 )
5 star
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4.1 (1025 )
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Story
4.2 (1009 )
5 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    MARCIA Lake Forest, CA, United States 05-29-09
    MARCIA Lake Forest, CA, United States 05-29-09 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    82
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    "A great piece of literature"

    Sometimes, if a devoted reader is lucky, he or she finds a book of such greatness that the effect is overwhelming. This is one of those rare finds. Other listeners have commented on the skill of the author and the talent of the narrator but I think it is imperative to also honor the gifted translator who did an outstanding job maintaining the integrity and poetry of the original work. I heartily recommend this book to all lovers of great literature.

    9 of 10 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 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    183
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    60
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    8
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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
  •  
    Catie Scarlette 04-09-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It has been years since I loved a book this much!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Shadow of the Wind the most enjoyable?

    The language is so beautiful - you are so beguiled by the descriptions - places, things and times I have never lived were brought into reality - I could see it all.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Shadow of the Wind?

    It's too hard to name one without spoiling one of several moments for the next reader.


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

    I have not, but this one was exquisite. I have started The Angel's Game - a different performer is doing that one and I normally love him as a reader, but for these stories, I can't imagine anyone being better than Jonathan Davis.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I guess I had two - first, I was crying at the beautiful ending, and second, I immediately began to listen to it again. I had to make myself go on to another book after I finished it for the 2nd time!!


    Any additional comments?

    I cannot believe I waited thirteen years to read this beautiful, mysterious book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Bethesda, MD, United States 03-19-14
    Barbara Bethesda, MD, United States 03-19-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Parallel Stories Entertain"
    What made the experience of listening to The Shadow of the Wind the most enjoyable?

    The intricacies of the story


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

    The narration was exquisite for this audiobook. It allowed fuller appreciation of the many varied characters and the changes in time sequences.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Richards 03-22-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Too much music"
    What did you love best about The Shadow of the Wind?

    The narrator was great, and I really enjoyed the story but the weird music that will start up randomly during the story became very distracting. It wasn't even at the beginning and ending of chapters but at any point that, I'm assuming, the director wanted to build an emotional response though it? I don't know but it was annoying.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. J. Melton OKC 07-18-11
    R. J. Melton OKC 07-18-11 Member Since 2008

    I read too much, like most genre, & am picky about narrators. I like strong characters, great dialogue, & quirky bits!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A rich, engrossing tale"

    As an avid reader, I lost myself to this enchanting tale from the first paragraph. The reader was excellent. (I have enjoyed listening to him read for another author, I believe.) There is nothing of this book not to like--the characters are richly drawn, the world they enhabit pulses with life, and the storyline enchanting. I loved this book and will certainly re-listen many times.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-26-10
    Matthew Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-26-10
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    "Well written melodrama."

    This is a well written book, yet it seems to imply that it will be more of an intriguing mystery than the love story it really is. It uses the world of books, novelists, and fictional characters as a background for the convoluted lives the characters lead. There are many vivid passages, and amusing characters. Yet I found the plot lacking the consistent surprise that might make me love it more. The reader is talented, yet I feel this book is best read, not listened to. Try this one if you like romances, and if you enjoy a hint of mystery to them.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Nichols Aspen, CO United States 05-13-10
    T. Nichols Aspen, CO United States 05-13-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful story..."

    and read perfectly.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RH BRENTWOOD, TN, United States 03-08-10
    RH BRENTWOOD, TN, United States 03-08-10
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    "Beautiful storytelling"

    Loved this audiobook; would make an excellent film, I think.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K United States 06-08-09
    K United States 06-08-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    "What a find!"

    This book is a symphony of all my favorite things about audio books and books in general.
    Zafron is a master story teller who delivers unforgettable imagery, vibrant humor, and poignant historical references for his characters. He deftly weaves a riveting and intricate narrative that is hard to put down (this is not a book you can listen to while doing something else - you have to pay attention)
    Jonathan Davis is a wonderful narrator and makes the story all the more inviting. He could have helped me a little by letting me know when the main voice changed to a female character. It wasn't a big deal; I figured it out; but it kept me confused for a while!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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