By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
April 16, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Shadow of the Wind


While it’s difficult to categorize this mystery/romance/thriller/period epic, there is no question that Wind is wondrous. Set in post-WWII Barcelona, the novel opens with a man initiating his young son, Daniel, into the ”Cemetery of Forgotten Books,” where lost tomes wait to be rediscovered. Daniel chooses a novel called The Shadow of the Wind and becomes obsessed with the author, whose tragic and drama-filled story unfolds, interlaced with Daniel’s own tragic and drama-filled life. There are places in which Wind might seem a little over-the-top (doomed love, gruesome murders) but for Zafon’s masterful, meticulous plotting and extraordinary control over language (originally written in Spanish, it has been translated by Lucia Graves, daughter of the poet Robert). While managing to hit just about every genre, The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero.

The Shadow of the Wind

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