I finished reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón close to sunrise. I had woken up at midnight, and in an inefficient effort to lull myself to sleep, I read myself to a plot twist and had to keep going.
In Barcelona 1945, David Sempere finds a book by Julian Carax. The book reaches his hands like a handsome mystery. Now, a posh book collector wants the book. An aggressive policeman wants the book. A stranger with a burned face wants the book. David can’t let the book go. Instead he seeks out the book’s author who is at the centre of the strangeness.
I will not say any more on the plot. Imagine this book like a parcel with a thousand intricate folds in the wrapping paper. It’s a mystery that needs to be unravelled by the author, and only him. I knew I would struggle to review a book that is written so elegantly and so fixed in place and time. It feels odd to try recreate some of the magic here, on my laptop, in Brisbane.
The thing you must know about The Shadow of the Wind is that it demands to be read once you start. The words roll around your tongue. The book paints Barcelona from people’s faces. I encourage all gothic mystery enthusiasts to visit Zafon’s Barcelona, and tell me about it on your return.
Books are mirrors – you only see in them what you already have inside you.