Monday, September 12, 2011
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Once underway, though, I couldn't put it down. Not only because I wanted to see what happened next, but because all the various characters and their backstories had me rereading passages to remind myself of what was what and who was who again. Really, a story like this is best read in one or two sittings; the fewer interruptions, the better - isn't that always the case? Shadow of The Wind is a wonderfully atmospheric mystery story, great for this time of year.
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer's son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author's other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax's books in existence. Soon Daniel's seemingly innocent quest open's a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets - an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. (back cover)
I was raised among books, making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast from dust and whose smell I carry on my hands to this day. pg4
In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody's best friend. Now they have only us, Daniel. Do you think you can keep such a secret? pg6
I had never heard of the title or the author, but I didn't care. The decision had been taken. I pulled the volume down with great care and leafed through the pages, letting them flutter. Once liberated from its prison on the shelf, the book shed a cloud of golden dust. Pleased with my choice, I tucked it under my arm and retraced my steps through the labyrinth with a smile on my lips. Perhaps the bewitching atmosphere of the place had got the better of me, but I felt sure that The Shadow of the Wind had been waiting for me there for years, probably since before I was born. pg7
There's no such thing as dead languages, only dormant minds. pg15
"Never before had I felt trapped, seduced, and caught up in a story," Clara explained, "the way I did with that book. Until then, reading was just a duty, a sort of fine one had to pay teachers and tutors without quite knowing why. I had never known the pleasure of reading, of exploring the recesses of the soul, of letting myself be carried away by imagination, beauty and the mystery of fiction and language. For me all those things were born with that novel. Have you ever kissed a girl, Daniel?" pg27
One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened, the wounds of the heart are already too deep. pg35
Someone once said that the moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you've already stopped loving that person forever. pg176
Well, this is a story about books.
About accursed books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about a betrayal and a lost friendship. It's a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that lie in the shadow of the wind. pg178
I counted up to three and then started to run. Minutes later, soaked to the bone and shivering, I stopped under a doorway to get my breath back. I scrutinized the rest of the route. The storm's icy blast blurred the ghostly outline of mansions and large, rambling houses veiled in the mist. Among them, rose the dark and solitary tower of the Aldaya mansion, anchored among the swaying trees. pg228
The house had its own character and proved immune to the influence of its new owners. The recent arrivals complained about noises and banging on the walls at night, sudden putrid smells and freezing drafts that seemed to roam throughout the house like wandering sentinels. The mansion was a compendium of mysteries. pg237
RIP book #1 - check!