Haunting, elegant, mysterious, intricate, passionate, a bit gothic and demonic, at times slapstick, a work of art. This international best-seller by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon is all of these and more. Need I say more?
This mystery book is about a mystery book and its mysterious author. The setting is 1940s and 50s Barcelona, a city slowly healing from the war. Daniel Sempere, the son of a rare books dealer, narrates how he came into possession of The Shadow of the Wind, a bewitching book that took over his young life. Not yet 11 years old, Daniel’s father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a huge book repository for books forgotten by the world but waiting for someone to care about them again. Daniel’s father tells him to pick out one book in the massive labyrinth of shelves and rooms, a book that will have a special meaning for him.
Daniel so loves The Shadow of the Wind that he sets out to find the other books written by the author, Julian Carax. 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 opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, madness and doomed love. At every turn, he is haunted by a mysterious man who appears to be the devil personified, and threatened by an evil, corrupt police captain who made his bones as a hit man during the war. Over the course of several years, in pursuit of his mystery author, Daniel falls in love a couple times, and befriends a hilarious homeless man who lends great comic relief to the dark story. After many twists, turns and dead ends to the mystery, Daniel must find out the truth about Julian Carax, or he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.