Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘cemetery of lost books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out La Sombra Del Viento by Julian Carax.
But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from La Sombra Del Viento, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax’s work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind. A page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.
'If you thought the gothic novel died with the 19th century, this will change your mind. In Zafón's hands, every scene seems to come from an early Orson Wells movie. One gorgeous read.' Stephen King
'For the first time in 20 years or so as a book reviewer, I am tempted to dust off the old superlatives and even to employ some particularly vulgar cliches from the repetoire of publishers' blurbs. My colleagues may be shocked, but I don't care, I can't help myself, here goes. THE SHADOW OF THE WIND is a triumph of the storyteller's art. I couldn't put it down. Enchanting, hilarious and heartbreaking, this book will change your life.' Daily Telegraph
'Zafón's book is tremendously enjoyable... his story is impressively well-rounded. Humour, horror, politics and romance are skilfully deployed and... the overall effect is hugely satisfying. Zafón, a former screenwriter, is particularly good at contrast and pacing: the book's 400 pages whip past with incredible speed.' Sunday Telegraph
'What makes this novel so irresistibly readable is the emotional energy generated by the ups and downs of a big and varied cast of memorable characters. His conviction of the importance of literature in real life comes shining through. Walk down any street in Zafón's Barcelona and you'll glimpse the shades of the past and the secrets of the present, inscribed alike in the city's material fabric and the lives of its citizens.' Michael Kerrigan, Guardian
'Gripping and instantly atmospheric, this literary mystery opens in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a maze-like library of obscure tomes hidden away in Barcelona's Old City, where the hero, Daniel, is taken as a boy... But he little realises the evil which it will unleash and the devastating impact it will have on his life.' Mail on Sunday YOU Magazine
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Ruiz Zafón's writing has been associated with the Gothic novel, a genre that has had very few exponents in Spain. And Barcelona is considered a Gothic city by virtue of its architecture. Is there any relation between these two circumstances?