The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

76%

31 Critic Reviews

The writing is wonderful, and, for that, translator Lucia Graves deserves high marks. It flows naturally and poetically, and make it easy to envelop oneself in the story.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

"Gabriel García Márquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges for a sprawling magic show." --The New York Times Book Review

A New York Times Bestseller

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, 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 Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been 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 opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

“ Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind. Really, you should.” --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"Wonderous... masterful... The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero." --Entertainment Weekly (Editor's Choice)

"One gorgeous read." --Stephen King


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Carlos Ruiz Zafon

See more books from this Author
Carlos Ruiz Zafón es uno de los autores más leídos y reconocidos en todo el mundo. Inicia su carrera literaria en 1993 con El Príncipe de la Niebla, a la que siguen El Palacio de la Medianoche, Las Luces de Septiembre (reunidos en el volumen La Trilogía de la Niebla) y Marina. En 2001 se publica su primera novela para adultos, La Sombra del Viento, que pronto se transforma en un fenómeno literario internacional. Con El Juego del Ángel vuelve al universo del Cementerio de los Libros Olvidados, que sigue creciendo con El Prisionero del Cielo. Sus obras han sido traducidas a más de cincuenta lenguas y han conquistado numerosos premios y millones de lectores en los cinco continentes.
 
Published January 25, 2005 by Penguin Books. 506 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Shadow of the Wind
All: 31 | Positive: 25 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

The histories of a mysterious book and its enigmatic author are painstakingly disentangled in this yeasty Dickensian romance: a first novel by a Spanish novelist now living in the US...The Shadow of the Wind will keep you up nights—and it’ll be time well spent. Absolutely marvelous.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Feb 12 2016

Ruiz Zafón strives for a literary tone, and no scene goes by without its complement of florid, cute and inexact similes and metaphors...Yet the colorful cast of characters, the gothic turns and the straining for effect only give the book the feel of para-literature or the Hollywood version of a great 19th-century novel.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Michael Kerrigan on Jun 26 2004

That this elaborate nest of narratives stacks together so neatly is impressive; that the cogs which drive the action whir quite so swiftly and smoothly is little short of miraculous...what makes this novel so irresistibly readable is the emotional energy generated by the ups and downs of a big and varied cast of memorable characters.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Robert Colvile on Jun 06 2004

Daniel is a believably awkward teenager - compassionate (he rescues a former prisoner, Fermín Romero de Torres, from life on the streets), but naive and romantically inept... Zafón's novel is atmospheric, beguiling and thoroughly readable, but ultimately lacks the magic its early chapters promise.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Kerrigan on Jun 25 2004

The habit of allusiveness also inclines Zafón towards indulgence in his attitude to cliché: there are too many enigmatic smiles and impenetrable gazes here by half...Overall, however, he does not come across as a writer wrapped up in literary theory...

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Robert Colvile on Jun 06 2004

Zafón's novel is atmospheric, beguiling and thoroughly readable, but ultimately lacks the magic its early chapters promise.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Rick Muller on May 30 2007

The writing is wonderful, and, for that, translator Lucia Graves deserves high marks. It flows naturally and poetically, and make it easy to envelop oneself in the story.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Marie Hashima on Jan 31 2005

THE SHADOW OF THE WIND is a story within a story within a story. Still, the plots remain intact as Zafon writes about Daniel's search for the answers to Julian's mystery...This reviewer feels it has something for everybody...overall it is a wonderfully satisfying novel, making it a four-star winner.

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Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh on Apr 16 2004

While it’s difficult to categorize this mystery/romance/thriller/period epic, there is no question that Wind is wondrous...While managing to hit just about every genre, The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero.

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Booklist Online

Above average
Reviewed by Keir Graff on Mar 01 2004

It’s big, chock-full of unusual characters, and strong in its sense of place. Daniel’s initiation into the mysteries of adulthood is given the same weight as the mystery of the book-burner...This is rich, lavish storytelling, very much in the tradition of Ross King’s Ex Libris (2001).

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About.com

Above average
Reviewed by Colleen AF Venable on Feb 04 2015

But despite the completely original story line, more contemporary readers might be turned off by its verbose nature and unplausibility...Readers might easily get lost in the barrage of characters, and grow weary as Daniel paces the city...

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PopMatters

Below average
Reviewed by Zachary Houle on Mar 29 2005

...Wind goes nowhere and just billows around aimlessly like a sheet of newspaper floating down a deserted, dusty street during a slight gust. What’s more, its villain is hardly menacing and does little but stand in the shadows for most of the book...The Shadow of the Wind really feels like only the shadow of a great book...

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Good
Reviewed by Andrew Riemer on Jul 03 2004

...The Shadow of the Wind is a fascinating, disconcerting and (for me at least) ultimately infuriating yarn that consistently mingles brilliance and banality, acuteness and delicacy of observation with cliche.

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The Dagger

Above average
Reviewed by Susan Kelly on May 12 2011

Zafon has such a gift for description that every scene in this book is palpable. As I read it, I had an uneasy feeling that my world was not what it seemed...at its heart, it is a story of an adolescent boy, Daniel Sempere, experiencing what he believes is love, living through an ultimate betrayal, and then finally growing to find true love.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by sithukorale, on Feb 03 2015

Mystery, tragedy, obsession, revenge, darkness and humor, romance and horror are somehow all mixed in this magical, rich, delicious read...The answers are a thousand times more shocking and delicious than you can imagine. The experience is made all the more wonderful by the colorful stories...

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Curled Up

Above average
Reviewed by Brian Charles Clark on Feb 15 2014

The wind of speculation keeps blowing shadows of mystery down the side streets, pulling us on into the labyrinth in pursuit of the story of the novel within the novel. Zafón is a great-hearted writer, keenly aware that books are bits of soul-stuff and just as prone to the vicissitudes of time and place as are their human authors and readers.

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Brothers Judd

Above average
Reviewed by brothersjudd. on Feb 20 2007

...there's a lot going on here and Mr. Zafon does an uneven job of keeping the plates all spinning. The gothic elements are intriguing, but exhausting...The love of books and reading is a welcome theme, but it is never really made clear to us why Carax should be considered a great author...

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Book Review Circle

Below average
Reviewed by Sayan Mukherjee on Jan 28 2014

I however was not very satisfied with the plot nor with the construction. It seemed meaningless at many points and the plot was ridiculously simple to guess and fathom...A disappointing read for those expecting mental stimulation, however it can be used to brighten up a boring flight or train journey.

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Fyrefly's Book Blog

Above average
Reviewed by fyrefly on Dec 22 2008

The writing in this book is beautiful, very evocative and full of linguistic twists and turns...But while I objectively realize it’s quite a good book, and I did enjoy it, it didn’t quite draw me in the way I wanted it too. It was a little too dense to fit my mood at the moment; a little too full of rambling bits that ultimately went nowhere...

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The Book Smugglers

Excellent
Reviewed by Thea on Oct 17 2008

Every once in a while, a book comes along that renders you speechless; wringing your heart with emotions too powerful to put into words; leaving you drained yet sated, joyously happy that you were able to find such a rare treasure...The Shadow of the Wind is one such book... I loved this book. Truly, madly, deeply. Go forth and buy it.

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The Blue Bookcase

Above average
Reviewed by Christine Chioma on Apr 09 2012

Zafón is a superb writer. I loved the way he weaved the story and the observations made through Daniel's voice...I really appreciated the many layers and mysteries of the novel--there are multiple stories within this story...Definitely have a friend read it too. I really wanted to discuss it and hear other opinions

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Literate Housewife

Above average
Reviewed by Jennifer on Sep 17 2009

If ever there was a Gothic author who appealed to book enthusiasts, it is Carols Ruiz Zafón. Both The Angel’s Game and The Shadow of the Wind are gripping Gothic mysteries. Where David from The Angel’s Game is an author, Daniel is a reader. For both, there is danger in every corner.

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Of Books and Reading

Excellent
Reviewed by Hungry Reader on Dec 20 2013

The book is about Barcelona’s deepest and darkest secret that is about to be revealed...Zafon’s characters are haunting and well thought after...The quality of writing, the old school setting, the power of storytelling, the characters and the plot, all come together and speak of books and reading and the love for them.

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Take Me Away

Good
Reviewed by Jenny on Aug 18 2009

I did think this was a great story and I can see why it has become sort of a modern classic. The writing was absolutely beautiful -- poetic at times... The story was also intricate and well thought out. I do love when a story is involved and has lots of different facets. If for nothing else, these two factors make this book worth reading.

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I'm Loving Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah on Feb 10 2015

The Shadow of the Wind is a treasure chest of mystery and adventure with a moody, almost Gothic, underscore to it...this book was an incredible escape that I know I’ll want to come back to another day. If you’re a fan of books (which I know you all are) and mystery then you will most likely love this book.

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King of the Nerds!!!

Above average
Reviewed by Mike on Mar 17 2009

As fantastic as I thought the book was I felt the ending was a bit lackluster. While it wasn’t entirely sunshine and roses everything wrapped up a bit too neatly...Regardless, I think that The Shadow of the Wind is a wonderful novel that reminded why I started reading in the first place.

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Murder by Type

Good
Reviewed by Beth on Jun 02 2011

THE SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Ruiz-Safron is one of the best books I have read in more than a few decades of reading...Anyone who loves books and loves reading should treat themselves to this story which is about the love of the written word...this is a book about the power of words to transform lives, to broaden them, and make them richer.

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http://mostlyfiction.com

Good
Reviewed by Mary Whipple on May 15 2004

Lovers of the Gothic romance will be handsomely rewarded by this action-filled plot, as a sensitive and loving young boy comes of age while trying to unravel the mysteries associated with the elusive Julian Carax. Heavy, sensual imagery creates a sense of foreboding...

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Murphy's Library

Excellent
Reviewed by Guta on Oct 04 2010

The Shadow of the Wind is a book about another book and its author...It’s a story about secrets, and souls, and books. It’s a story to everyone that likes to hold a book, loves its smell or just likes to feel the pages between fingertips. An amazing story that surely will touch your heart.

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http://sf-fantasy-books.blogspot.com

Good
Reviewed by Thrinidir on May 25 2009

...this is so much more than a 'simple' mystery/crime story (which isn't all that simple to begin with), but a book about life itself and why it's worth living for - and what's worth dying for as well. So, like all great literature, "The Shadow of the Wind" transcends any simple genre labeling.

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Reviews and Ramblings

Excellent
Reviewed by Adam on May 27 2011

The Shadow of the Wind was written by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and was translated from the original Spanish to English by Lucia Graves. I loved this book. It was an engaging mystery story with some fantastic lines throughout the book that made me laugh and smile throughout the book.

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Reader Rating for The Shadow of the Wind
87%

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Lore Vancauwenberghe 20 Nov 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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