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Shadow of the Wind

Posted by phduffy on 2006-08-25 14:14:43
 
Shadow of the Wind is set in 1945 Barcelona, and stars (yeah, that’s right, stars) Daniel. He’s ten at the start of the book. The plot unfolds as follows: Daniel’s father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, to cheer Daniel up when he’s thinking about his dead mother. What’s the CoFB? Well, that’s where books that people have forgotten about are stored. So, Daniel goes there and picks up a book… The Shadow of the Wind by one Mr. Julian Carax.

As you might expect, Daniel proceeds to return to his house and read the book. And he loves it. This leads him to try to find more books by Carax. To do so, he approaches a friend of his father’s, who also happens to have a smoking hot 18 year old blind daughter. This gives Daniel the opportunity to read to her, and to fall in love. You can probably guess how a 10 year old falling in love with an 18 year old turns out. Anyways, Daniel decides to try to track down the remaining Julian Carax books. However, there’s a problem. Someone has been running around and destroying all of Carax’ books. (Sidenote: I don’t like punctuation mixing with X’s. It’s too weird).

So the novel becomes the story of Daniel searching for Carax and his novels. Along the way he falls in and out of love, loses and gains a best friend, and works on his relationship with his father. Not being as well-read as the reviewers, I can’t tell you if this is a combination of Borges and Kafka or whatever. I can tell you that it’s absolutely amazing. This book appeals to your sense of suspense, loneliness, love, loss, sexy-time and everything else.

Similarly to Spin, this is a book that tries to hit your sense of nostalgia. And sure, maybe you never lived in post-war Barcelona, or were involved in complicated mysteries as a 14 year old. But I’ll bet you went out and did stupid shit, fell for older girls (or guys!), wanted to impress your dad, etc.

This might be the best book I’ve read in a long, long time (possibly better than even Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Thanks for the recommendation Jenn!