The Shadow of the Wind is a favorite book of librarians everywhere, yet I have not tried reading it until now. In a way, I’m glad I waited until now to pick this up and try it because it’s not a book I would pick up for fun as it clocks in at roughly 500 pages, but it is stunning despite the intimidating length.
The Shadow of the Wind is a difficult book to attempt to describe. It is all the best parts of literature, yet overwhelming. Every genre is contained within this story, from the obvious Historical Fiction and Mystery elements to Romance and Fantasy/Magical Realism. The writing style is incredible. Zafron does not spend much time describing the setting to the reader, yet it is amazingly immersive. I felt like I was walking the streets along with the characters in Barcelona.
The story is very intimidating. I will be honest in saying that I lucked out as this was a book club choice, so I felt compelled to print out a character sheet to keep track of everyone, and I would encourage all readers to do the same. There are MANY characters in this novel, and though many are only short appearances, they still make an impact and need to be remembered. This is a novel that spans years in the life of Daniel, our protagonist, so it is imperative to keep track of all the twists and turns to enjoy the ending. The ending of this novel begins about 100 pages from the physical end, and much is explained. My book club struggled to keep the story together as there were a lot of jumps back and forth in time, but they picked up on the gist of it, at least. Many revelations in the final sections influence how you will interpret the ending, and the metaphors made, so if you’re struggling with reading, I would emphasize that the book gets better the further you get into it. Many of my book club members struggled with the first half but adored the book overall.
The writing is so beautiful it’s hard to rate this anything other than 5 stars. While I felt confused and intimidated by the book, I wanted to reread it by the time I finished. A masterclass in evoking emotion in a reader through incredible storytelling.
Title: The Shadow of the Wind
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Three Descriptors: Complex, Intricate, Atmospheric
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