The Shadow of the Wind
The books of Carlos Ruiz Zafon usually have a prominent place in the bookstores...Since the latest book came out in Belgium in spring 2009 they've always been placed on the best seller table. Somehow I'm always attracted to these books: the more I see them, the more I'm convinced it must be a marvellous book....I'm totally susceptible for book marketing :) but I'm also very stingy when it comes to spending money to newly launched books that I'm after all only going to read once. I had seen on my friend's book lists on FB that they had already read his book(s)...so I was more convinced that I had to read this.
So when I actually remembered to look up Zafon the last time I was treasure hunting in the library and I found both "The Shadow of the Wind" and "The Angel's Game" on the shelf, I did a little dance on the spot. I decided to start by the first book.
I read the >530 pages in 3 weeks which means something. Usually I don't nearly progress that fast. The book reads very smoothly.
It tells about Daniel who discovers a book "The Shadow of the wind" and gets intrigued by the mysterious author. He's unaware about the analogy of the author's life and his own. The events keep flowing and one by one the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. The setting is in Barcelona during times of the civil war in Spain.
Yet it's too bad that the cool concept of the "graveyard of forgotten books" where Daniel is introduced by his father and where he has found this special book, has not been used more. What a wonderful place that I'd love to get to know better!? Would the prequel Angel's Game use this more? I surely hope so.
And some things don't make sense to me: why have some details from the past such tragic consequences whereas other stories in the book get a lot of attention and yet nothing really happens with it anymore later.
There's a lot of characters that seem rather unidimensional and as a result I couldn't really related well to them. And I'm a bit too rational for stories about haunted houses, mysterious characters that give up their life for an impossible love they've never experienced, or they spend their entire life on a quest to take revenge for ancient harm, ... This last aspect of the book really reminded me of Allende's stories. Very often I think her stories are a bit over the top and hold too much fairy tale & mythical atmosphere, but yet I keep searching for her books. I wonder if it's a coincidence that two of the rare Spanish Latin speaking/cultural authors that I read share this same style of writing : is it simply the same style or is there a cultural bond?
Anyway, I'll be looking for The Angel's Game, but my expectations aren't as high anymore as before reading The Shadow of the Wind.