Monday, July 6, 2009

The Answer, My Friend, Is The Shadow of the Wind

As noted in my previous post, The Shadow of the Wind is one of those books I recommend without reservation, to family, to friends, and yes, even to complete strangers.

It's a rich, multi-layered novel that is totally engrossing. Written by Carlos Ruiz Zafon in a lavish, at times extravagant style, and reminiscent of the best of 19th century romanticism (wink, wink Victor Hugo), this is one of those stories that you hate to finish.

Peopled by larger-than-life characters, the tale unfolds over the course of several years, as the narrator attempts to locate a mysterious author whose books are being systematically burned and destroyed, so that only a few copies of his works are left.

The influence of Victor Hugo is obvious, and the author doesn't try to hide it. Quite the opposite, in fact. And while certainly Zafon pays homage to Hugo, he still manages to offer something truly unique.

My hat's off to the translator as well, who no doubt took the extremely poetical language of the original text and was able to offer its "equivalent" in English, without turning the story into a melodrama.


Zafon also recently released a prequel, The Angel's Game. I'll be reading that one as soon as the wife finishes, which won't be long, as she's a natural speed reader.


seanag said...

I even have a copy of this, Brian, yet still havent gotten around to it. Nice to know that you rate it so highly.

Brian O'Rourke said...


From a literary standpoint, it's an interesting read. The story is set in the early to mid 20th century, and the author's prose has a 19th century feel to itself, but as if it had been informed by the 20th century. That probably doesn't make any sense but it's the best I could come up with at this hour ;)

seanag said...

Well, it's intriguing, anyway...