The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

In the book club that I manage, we read a book in a different genre each month. This month our theme is works in translation, and we read The Shadow of the Wind. It was originally published in Spanish, and the edition we read was translated by Lucia Graves.

The story takes place mostly in Barcelona, Spain from 1933 to 1955. This era covers the Spanish Civil War that took place during the Second World War. This was a very difficult time for Spanish citizens and is a very important part of the story.

The book starts when a ten-year-old boy reads a book also called The Shadow of the Wind. The boy is captivated and stays up all night to finish it. As he begins to look for other books by the author, he finds it a struggle. And so his young life becomes a journey to learn about this mysterious author of what he learns is a rare book.

As the book unfolds, we learn about the life of the author. In many ways the boy’s life becomes a mirror of the author’s. They both fall in love with a girl forbidden to them. And as the story comes to the climax, their lives begin to intersect.

This book is a love story and adventure as well as a bildungsroman and a thriller. But despite the excellent writing and captivating story, at times I found myself wondering why I cared. And at times I found myself confused between the story of the boy and the author. In the end, I also felt that the book was a little longer than it needed to be. Despite these shortcomings, I did enjoy the novel. I wish I could highly recommend it. But if subject matter appeals to you, it might be right up your alley.

My rating: 3.5/5

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