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3 Beaverton Literature- A to Z
2 Hawthorne Mystery- A to Z

The Shadow of the Wind


The Shadow of the Wind Cover

ISBN13: 9780143034902
ISBN10: 0143034901
Condition: Standard
All Product Details





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."


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

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Tiffany Bowcut, November 13, 2014 (view all comments by Tiffany Bowcut)
I loved this book! It was beautifully written and Zafon clearly is a master of words. The story was intriguing and the characters were well developed and engaging.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Jeanne-Marie Peterson, October 3, 2013 (view all comments by Jeanne-Marie Peterson)
I loved reading this book, it was so beautifully written. I found myself bookmarking passages just so i could read them at my leisure later. And they were all just as melodic the second & third time around...i would love to read it in Spanish! My hat off to the translator! A pleasure to read, i highly recommend it.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Jeanne-Marie Peterson, October 3, 2013 (view all comments by Jeanne-Marie Peterson)
I loved reading this book, it was so beautifully written. I found myself bookmarking passages just so i could read them at my leisure later. And they were all just as melodic the second & third time around...i would love to read it in Spanish! My hat off to the translator! A pleasure to read, i highly recommend it.
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(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Zafon, Carlos Ruiz
Penguin (Non-Classics)
Graves, Lucia
Graves, Lucia
Ruiz Zafon, Carlos
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz
Literature-A to Z
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Publication Date:
February 2005
Grade Level:
8.42x5.48x1.11 in. .92 lbs.

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History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

The Shadow of the Wind Used Trade Paper
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Product details 512 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143034902 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 ,

Okay, never mind that The Shadow of the Wind starts off in a wonderfully mysterious bookstore and that there's a romantic element that is not schmaltzy, but "timeless" in the best sense of the word. What I loved was how I thought I knew where the author was taking me, but was instead sidetracked and detoured by the different characters and subplots. Ruiz Zafón's language conveys a true storyteller's gift of music, timing, and enchantment.

"Staff Pick" by ,

If you've read The Shadow of the Wind, you won't need to read another word — you were likely so enthralled with Carlos Ruiz Zafón's breathtaking literary thriller that you've already ordered your copy of Angel's Game. For those who don't know, Zafón is a masterful storyteller whose Cemetery of Forgotten Books will enchant every lover of books.

"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 , "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 , "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 , "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 , "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 , "[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 , "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 , "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 , "[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 , "[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 , "[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 , "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 , "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 , "[S]tylishly written and informed by a love of books....Ruiz Zafón embeds these concepts within a deft thriller, a populist work of genre fiction that looks beyond its own conventions, even if it doesn't venture too far."
"Review" by , "[A] compelling labyrinth of stories that gracefully unfolds in layers, as if the novel were a Russian nesting doll....But this is also a book about love's poetic power to heal the wounds of the past and offer second chances."
"Review" by , "Readers may find, as they are hypnotically drawn in by the blurred layers of reality and easy identification with the characters, that they are exploring The Shadow of the Wind in the company of new friends."
"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."
"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 , This best-selling Spanish novel (translated into English by Lucia Graves) begins with a young boy named Daniel, who discovers a strange, forgotten novel in a bookstore: it's called The Shadow of the Wind, and the rumor is that its author is being plagued by a man who is trying to track down copies of the book so he can destroy them. As the story moves out of the 1940s and Daniel grows up, he becomes consumed with investigating this bizarre story and the life of the book's author, and the search for the truth takes him not only into the lives of others but deeply into his own background.
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