The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

Being lost in a world of books, to me as an English Literature student seems like a heavenly place! But this story uncovers the ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’, an underground labyrinth deep in the heart of Barcelona full of lost, obscure and even dangerous books.

Set in 1945 in Barcelona just after the Civil War, the city becomes an uncertain and dangerous place where people themselves are shady characters, too fearful of stepping out of line. Within the midst of this danger is a brave character, Daniel who is determined to uncover the truth.

As a boy, Daniel is introduced to the ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ by his father, who owns a small bookshop in the heart of the city. He is told that he can choose one book to take away with him, but he must remain the keeper of this book and look after it. The book that he chooses unlocks a much bigger story – that of the novelist Julian Carax, whose life is surrounded by mystery and nobody quite knows whether he died abroad or during a duel with an unknown man in Barcelona. To add to uncertainties, Carax’s novels have been hunted down and burnt by one man on a mission to eradicate the trace of Carax’s life. Daniel decides to take it upon himself to uncover the truth, lifting the shroud from the life of Carax and the unexplained disappearance of all of his books. Along the way however, he must avoid the dark, strange figure with a heavily scarred face who stalks Daniel’s quest to uncover all of Carax’s books. 

The novel functions simultaneously as that of a mystery and a love story. At the centre of the plot is a love story involving the young novelist Julian Carax and his best friend’s sister. This story is echoed in Daniels own life as he falls for his best friend, Tomas’ sister, Beatriz. But love does not conquer all in this novel; it instead exposes the darker side to human love: that of betrayal and deceit.

The Shadow of the Wind is a novel that I would not normally pick up to read, but is one that I have grown to love. It truly is a fantastic read that you can’t put down as the plot and mystery slowly unravel. This novel is one that makes you stop and think in order to link up the connections and people encountered along the progression of the story. Zafon cleverly crafts a story within a story, which delves into the past. The Shadow of the Wind is only the first part of a trilogy and so I eagerly anticipate the next two novels. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the past and its relation to the present day.

By Victoria Parrin


by for
find me on and follow me on