How do I categorize this novel? The Shadow of the Wind doesn’t fit neatly into one bin or another. It has rough edges that stick out no matter how you try to place the odd shape of it. Carlos Ruiz Zafon has created a memorable, entertaining, and thought-provoking tale. By turns, this book had me pensive and thinking, to laughing out loud, to nodding my head thinking, ‘Yeah, been there’.
Set in Spain, a young boy, Daniel, grows to a young man. He stumbles across a minor mystery concerning a book, The Shadow of the Wind, which is a rare volume written by a Spanish writer in the 1920s. Daniel becomes entranced by the book, and starts asking around about the author. Pretty soon, he is digging into the personal history of the author, his family, and his friends. His enemies soon become Daniel’s enemies.
The telling of the tale bounces back and forth between Daniel’s present time and earlier – just prior and during WWI. In piecing together this history of the mysterious author, Daniel starts to notice an uncomfortable resemblance to his own life.
Fermin Roberto de Torres, a homeless beggar turned bookshop keeper, was my favorite character. His lusty appetite for life, matched with his sense of humor and his nuggets of wisdom, had me chuckling, and guffawing, and exclaiming, ‘Did he just really say that?’ Fermin is, in many ways, the reflection of the entire book – by turns ugly, wise, humorous, paranoid, brave, life itself.
This audio version was read by Jonathan Davis. He did an incredible job with the Spanish accents and words. He pulled off both male and female voices believably. I know that when i re-read this book years from now, I will hear it in Jonathan Davis’s voice(s).