Have you read it yet? You must! Immediately.
If you love books and reading (which you must because here you are), you are going to love this book. It’s incredible.
OK so there’s this boy, Daniel, and when he’s about 11 his father, a bookseller (naturally) takes him to this secret place in Barcelona that only the very few even know about, The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books!
What is this place? It is explained thus:
Every time a book changes hands , every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens. […] When a library disappears, a book store closes down, when a book is consigned to oblivion, those of us who know this place, its guardians, make sure it gets here. In this place books no longer remembered by anyone, books that are lost in time, live forever, waiting for the day when they will reach a new reader’s hands.
Do you want to run out right now and rescue a book? Yeah, me too.
Anyway, the rule is that the first time one visits The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, one has to choose a book and basically adopt it and ensure that it is well loved once more.
Are you dying?
So Daniel chooses The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax and from page one he’s hooked and when he’s finished he tries hunting down Carax’s other work only to find out that, although Carax wrote other books, they are all gone. Someone has been systematically tracking them down and burning them. His copy is one of the only ones left.
Daniel soon becomes obsessed with finding out why. Why is someone burning the books? What happened to Carax?
His quest takes him all over post-Civil War Barcelona, a grey, awful, kind of scary place where the police are both friend and foe. The story takes us through the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s. It is terrifying and heart stopping and unexpectedly moving. The characters are incredible, especially the hobo that helps Daniel after he gets the crap kicked out of him by a music tutor.
This book made me laugh, gasp, cry and sigh with complete and total satisfaction when I was finished. It made me want to run out to the nearest used book store and save a book from being unloved. At the end of the day, The Shadow of the Wind reminds us that books? Are amazing.
Want to hear the best part? The Shadow of the Wind is part of a series! I’m not even kidding when I say I’m running out right now to pick up The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven (which, serendipitously, was released yesterday). Also? Carlos Ruiz Zafon came up with a list of his favourite books about books which you can find here.