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14 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

The Shadow of the Wind

by

The Shadow of the Wind Cover

ISBN13: 9781594200106
ISBN10: 1594200106
All Product Details

 

 

Excerpt

1.

A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept. My first thought on waking was to tell my best friend about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Tomás Aguilar was a classmate who devoted his free time and his talent to the invention of wonderfully ingenious contraptions of dubious practicality, like the aerostatic dart or the dynamo spinning top. I pictured us both, equipped with flashlights and compasses, uncovering the mysteries of those bibliographic catacombs. Who better than Tomás to share my secret? Then, remembering my promise, I decided that circumstances advised me to adopt what in detective novels is termed a different modus operandi. At noon I approached my father to quiz him about the book and about Julián Carax-both world famous, I assumed. My plan was to get my hands on his complete works and read them all by the end of the week. To my surprise, I discovered that my father, a natural-born librarian and a walking lexicon of publishers' catalogs and oddities, had never heard of The Shadow of the Wind or Julián Carax. Intrigued, he examined the printing history on the back of the title page for clues.

"It says here that this copy is part of an edition of twenty-five hundred printed in Barcelona by Cabestany Editores, in June 1936."

"Do you know the publishing house?"

"It closed down years ago. But, wait, this is not the original. The first edition came out in November 1935 but was printed in Paris....Published by Galiano & Neuval. Doesn't ring a bell."

"So is this a translation?"

"It doesn't say so. From what I can see, the text must be the original one."

"A book in Spanish, first published in France?"

"It's not that unusual, not in times like these," my father put in. "Perhaps Barceló can help us...."

Gustavo Barceló was an old colleague of my father's who now owned a cavernous establishment on Calle Fernando with a commanding position in the city's secondhand-book trade. Perpetually affixed to his mouth was an unlit pipe that impregnated his person with the aroma of a Persian market. He liked to describe himself as the last romantic, and he was not above claiming that a remote line in his ancestry led directly to Lord Byron himself. As if to prove this connection, Barceló fashioned his wardrobe in the style of a nineteenth-century dandy. His casual attire consisted of a cravat, white patent leather shoes, and a plain glass monocle that, according to malicious gossip, he did not remove even in the intimacy of the lavatory. Flights of fancy aside, the most significant relative in his lineage was his begetter, an industrialist who had become fabulously wealthy by questionable means at the end of the nineteenth century. According to my father, Gustavo Barceló was, technically speaking, loaded, and his palatial bookshop was more of a passion than a business. He loved books unreservedly, and-although he denied this categorically-if someone stepped into his bookshop and fell in love with a tome he could not afford, Barceló would lower its price, or even give it away, if he felt that the buyer was a serious reader and not an accidental browser. Barceló also boasted an elephantine memory allied to a pedantry that matched his demeanor and the sonority of his voice. If anyone knew about odd books, it was he. That afternoon, after closing the shop, my father suggested that we stroll along to the Els Quatre Gats, a café on Calle Montsió, where Barceló and his bibliophile knights of the round table gathered to discuss the finer points of decadent poets, dead languages, and neglected, moth-ridden masterpieces.

 

Els Quatre Gats was just a five-minute walk from our house and one of my favorite haunts. My parents had met there in 1932, and I attributed my one-way ticket into this world in part to the old café's charms. Stone dragons guarded a lamplit façade anchored in shadows. Inside, voices seemed shaded by the echoes of other times. Accountants, dreamers, and would-be geniuses shared tables with the specters of Pablo Picasso, Isaac Albéniz, Federico García Lorca, and Salvador Dalí. There any poor devil could pass for a historical figure for the price of a small coffee.

"Sempere, old man," proclaimed Barceló when he saw my father come in. "Hail the prodigal son. To what do we owe the honor?"

"You owe the honor to my son, Daniel, Don Gustavo. He's just made a discovery."

"Well, then, pray come and sit down with us, for we must celebrate this ephemeral event," he announced.

"Ephemeral?" I whispered to my father.

"Barceló can express himself only in frilly words," my father whispered back. "Don't say anything, or he'll get carried away."

The lesser members of the coterie made room for us in their circle, and Barceló, who enjoyed flaunting his generosity in public, insisted on treating us.

"How old is the lad?" inquired Barceló, inspecting me out of the corner of his eye.

"Almost eleven," I announced.

Barceló flashed a sly smile.

"In other words, ten. Don't add on any years, you rascal. Life will see to that without your help."

A few of his chums grumbled in assent. Barceló signaled to a waiter of such remarkable decrepitude that he looked as if he should be declared a national landmark.

"A cognac for my friend Sempere, from the good bottle, and a cinnamon milk shake for the young one-he's a growing boy. Ah, and bring us some bits of ham, but spare us the delicacies you brought us earlier, eh? If we fancy rubber, we'll call for Pirelli tires."

The waiter nodded and left, dragging his feet.

"I hate to bring up the subject," Barceló said, "but how can there be jobs? In this country nobody ever retires, not even after they're dead. Just look at El Cid. I tell you, we're a hopeless case."

He sucked on his cold pipe, eyes already scanning the book in my hands. Despite his pretentious façade and his verbosity, Barceló could smell good prey the way a wolf scents blood.

"Let me see," he said, feigning disinterest. "What have we here?"

I glanced at my father. He nodded approvingly. Without further ado, I handed Barceló the book. The bookseller greeted it with expert hands. His pianist's fingers quickly explored its texture, consistency, and condition. He located the page with the publication and printer's notices and studied it with Holmesian flair. The rest watched in silence, as if awaiting a miracle, or permission to breathe again.

"Carax. Interesting," he murmured in an inscrutable tone.

I held out my hand to recover the book. Barceló arched his eyebrows but gave it back with an icy smile.

"Where did you find it, young man?"

"It's a secret," I answered, knowing that my father would be smiling to himself. Barceló frowned and looked at my father. "Sempere, my dearest old friend, because it's you and because of the high esteem I hold you in, and in honor of the long and profound friendship that unites us like brothers, let's call it at forty duros, end of story."

"You'll have to discuss that with my son," my father pointed out. "The book is his."

Barceló granted me a wolfish smile. "What do you say, laddie? Forty duros isn't bad for a first sale....Sempere, this boy of yours will make a name for himself in the business."

The choir cheered his remark. Barceló gave me a triumphant look and pulled out his leather wallet. He ceremoniously counted out two hundred pesetas, which in those days was quite a fortune, and handed them to me. But I just shook my head. Barceló scowled.

"Dear boy, greed is most certainly an ugly, not to say mortal, sin. Be sensible. Call me crazy, but I'll raise that to sixty duros, and you can open a retirement fund. At your age you must start thinking of the future."

I shook my head again. Barceló shot a poisonous look at my father through his monocle.

"Don't look at me," said my father. "I'm only here as an escort."

Barceló sighed and peered at me closely.

"Let's see, junior. What is it you want?"

"What I want is to know who Julián Carax is and where I can find other books he's written."

Barceló chuckled and pocketed his wallet, reconsidering his adversary.

"Goodness, a scholar. Sempere, what do you feed the boy?"

The bookseller leaned toward me confidentially, and for a second I thought he betrayed a look of respect that had not been there a few moments earlier.

"We'll make a deal," he said. "Tomorrow, Sunday, in the afternoon, drop by the Ateneo library and ask for me. Bring your precious find with you so that I can examine it properly, and I'll tell you what I know about Julián Carax. Quid pro quo."

"Quid pro what?"

"Latin, young man. There's no such thing as dead languages, only dormant minds. Paraphrasing, it means that you can't get something for nothing, but since I like you, I'm going to do you a favor."

The man's oratory could kill flies in midair, but I suspected that if I wanted to find out anything about Julián Carax, I'd be well advised to stay on good terms with him. I proffered my most saintly smile in delight at his Latin outpourings.

"Remember, tomorrow, in the Ateneo," pronounced the bookseller. "But bring the book, or there's no deal."

"Fine."

Our conversation slowly merged into the murmuring of the other members of the coffee set. The discussion turned to some documents found in the basement of El Escorial that hinted at the possibility that Don Miguel de Cervantes had in fact been the nom de plume of a large, hairy lady of letters from Toledo. Barceló seemed distracted, not tempted to claim a share in the debate. He remained quiet, observing me from his fake monocle with a masked smile. Or perhaps he was only looking at the book I held in my hands.

Copyright © 2004 Carlos Ruiz Zafón

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 13 comments:

aeyre.smith, January 27, 2012 (view all comments by aeyre.smith)
By far one of the best books I have read in a long time. The writing evoked strong images and led the reader through a fascinating and dynamic story.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
michelle koeppe, January 4, 2010 (view all comments by michelle koeppe)
This is one of those magical books that when you meet fellow readers & admirers of it, you feel an instant bond with them and soulful friendships often develop. A true homage to the love of literature, and pleasures of reading, this book has everything, romance, action, adventure, history-- as well as an irrestible mystique-- all expressed in stunning language. Be sure to schedule out your day (or however long you require) to finish this one from cover to cover.......
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
deep thinker, January 4, 2010 (view all comments by deep thinker)
I was lost in this book from the first page, and before I knew it the sun was setting on my day at the beach. I can imagine a facility holding all the books ever written ... and read.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781594200106
Translator:
Graves, Lucia
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Translator:
Graves, Lucia
Author:
Hische, Jessica
Author:
Ruiz Zafon, Carlos
Author:
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz
Author:
Graves, Lucia
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mothers and sons
Subject:
Books
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
Rare books
Subject:
Barcelona
Subject:
Antiquarian booksellers
Subject:
Widowers
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Barcelona (spain)
Subject:
Antiquarian booksellers - Spain - Barcelona
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st U.S. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Penguin Drop Caps
Publication Date:
April 12, 2004
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
576
Dimensions:
7.5 x 5.13 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Shadow of the Wind New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.95 In Stock
Product details 576 pages Penguin Books - English 9781594200106 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

When you start a novel with your protagonist selecting any book they want from a place called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, you're going to get a bookseller's attention. Ruiz Zafon's novel works on so many levels for me. As a story, it resonates emotionally, with strong characters that I always looked forward to returning to. On another level, it makes me want to visit Barcelona, where much of the book is set. This one's a keeper!

"Staff Pick" by ,

This is a large, great read that weaves together multiple love stories, a ghost story, and a mystery. The exotic Barcelona setting juxtaposes the medieval and Mediterranean with the bleached, chilled world of civil war and Franco's dictatorship. The characters are strong whether comic, courageous, or cruel. Best of all, it begins in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. What delight!

"Staff Pick" by ,

This is an exciting mystery centered around a "forgotten" book. There's someone evil gathering up all known copies — by any means necessary — burning them, and burning away all traces of the author. The evil person calls himself by the name the book gives for the devil. Not one, but two surprise revelations make this a great, fast-paced, fun read. Ruiz Zafón is a master at producing a page-turner.

"Review A Day" by , "The Shadow of the Wind has an innocence that doesn't prevent it from being thoroughly enthralling; at heart, the novel is a story of star-crossed lovers, bold young heroes, their lovably eccentric sidekicks and a cruel, dastardly villain. There are no fiendishly clever twists or secret codes, but Ruiz Zafón doesn't need them. He sweeps you along with the sheer riverine force of his sincerity and passion." (read the entire Salon.com review)
"Review" by , "[S]uperbly entertaining....[A]nyone 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."
"Review" by , "If you thought the true gothic novel died with the 19th century, this will change your mind. Shadow is the real deal....Be warned, you have to be a romantic at heart to appreciate this stuff, but if you are, this is one gorgeous read."
"Review" by , "The Shadow of the Wind will keep you up nights — and it'll be time well spent. Absolutely marvelous."
"Review" by , "To call this book...old-fashioned is to mean it in the best way. It's big, chock-full of unusual characters, and strong in its sense of place....This is rich, lavish storytelling, very much in the tradition of Ross King's Ex Libris."
"Review" by , "The melodrama and complications of Shadow...can approach excess, though it's a pleasurable and exceedingly well-managed excess. We are taken on a wild ride...that executes its hairpin bends with breathtaking lurches."
"Review" by , "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. (Grade: A)"
"Review" by , "[Shadow] follows a traditional narrative; what is outstanding is the metaphysical concept of books that assume a life of their own as the author subtly plays with intertextual references....[A] meticulously crafted mosaic."
"Review" by , "Ruiz Zafón strives for a literary tone....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."
"Review" by , "Ruiz Zafón has revived the kind of full-blooded story of romance and mystery perfected by Victor Hugo. The Shadow of the Wind has an innocence that doesn't prevent it from being thoroughly enthralling....There are no fiendishly clever twists or secret codes, but Ruiz Zafón doesn't need them. He sweeps you along with the sheer riverine force of his sincerity and passion....The Shadow of the Wind believes in the power of youth to rebuild hope on the bitter, ash-strewn ground of history, and so powerful is the sway of this author's storytelling, that, for 550 pages at least, he makes you believe it, too."
"Review" by , "Lucia Graves...has rendered Ruiz Zafón's distinctive sensibility with the seamless invisibility of a good translator. Her unsung efforts make it possible for the English-reading world to enjoy this gem of a novel."
"Review" by , "[A] deeply flawed creation....The novelty and wit dry up before the novel's protracted conclusion, an exhausting and, alas, risible affair that reads like an out-of-context merging of opera and 1930s Universal horror films."
"Review" by , "Beautifully translated by Lucia Graves, it's a compulsive page turner: Never mind the improbabilities; the reader gets hooked by Daniel's strange odyssey and the innumerable offbeat characters he encounters along the way."
"Review" by , "It's a mesmerizing read that swallowed this reader's soul, at least for the hours I spent in its company."
"Review" by , "Zafón's writing is so epic and vague, he fails to engage the reader even when describing real-life events....The combined effect of the foggy setting and soggy writing is of being lost in a swamp."
"Review" by , "[A]n over-the-top, operatic melange....It's so chock-full of hokum that it makes The Da Vinci Code look like a work of the starkest realism. In short, it's a hoot."
"Review" by , "It's part detective story, part bildungsroman, part soap opera, but the biggest flaw in The Shadow of the Wind is that it simply has too many parts....The novel's structure, too, is hopelessly fractured."
"Review" by , "[T]he secrets and lies, murder and intrigue that are described on every page make for an unusual and engaging read that will leave readers clamoring to know which of the characters will be around by the last page to tell their tales."
"Review" by , "As magnetic as The Club Dumas, as unsettling as The Mystery of the Haunted Crypt­ and with a plot as complex and well rounded as The Name of The Rose — to be recommended one hundred percent."
"Review" by , "A thriller, a historical novel and a comedy of manners....[W]ith great narrative skill, the author interweaves his plots and enigmas...maintaining the suspense right to the very last page."
"Synopsis" by , The international literary sensation — a runaway bestseller in Spain — is about a boy's quest through the secrets and shadows of postwar Barcelona for a mysterious author whose book has proved as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget.
"Synopsis" by ,
It all begins with a letter. Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible and hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet. In a design collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, the series features unique cover art by Hische, a superstar in the world of type design and illustration, whose work has appeared everywhere from Tiffany and Co. to Wes Anderson's recent film Moonrise Kingdom to Penguin's own bestsellers Committed and Rules of Civility. With exclusive designs that have never before appeared on Hische's hugely popular Daily Drop Cap blog, the Penguin Drop Caps series debuted with an 'A' for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, a 'B' for Charlotte Brönte's Jane Eyre, and a 'C' for Willa Cather's My Ántonia. It continues with more perennial classics, perfect to give as elegant gifts or to showcase on your own shelves.

Z is for Zafón. Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. Daniel, an antiquarian book dealers son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in what he finds in the “cemetery of lost books,” a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the authors 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 Caraxs books in existence. Soon Daniels seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelonas darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. 

"Synopsis" by ,
Make this your next book club selection and everyone saves.

Get 15% off when you order 5 or more of this title for your book club.

Simply enter the coupon code ZAFONSHADOW at checkout.

This offer does not apply to eBook purchases. This offer applies to only one downloadable audio per purchase.

Barcelona, 1945—just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. 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 has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.

As with all astounding novels, The Shadow of the Wind sends the mind groping for comparisons —The Crimson Petal and the White? The novels of Arturo Pérez-Reverte? Of Victor Hugo? Love in the Time of Cholera?—but in the end, as with all astounding novels, no comparison can suffice. As one leading Spanish reviewer wrote, “The originality of Ruiz Zafón’s voice is bombproof and displays a diabolical talent. The Shadow of the Wind announces a phenomenon in Spanish literature.” An uncannily absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books, The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storyteller’s art.

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