The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
June 27, 2010 § 19 Comments
Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.
This is a book that I find a little difficult to talk about. I’m not sure if it’s the somewhat complex storyline, or if it’s my own impression towards the story and its language. The Shadow of the Wind feels like the kind of book that would warrant quite a lot of discussion, yet I’m at a loss of what I can say about it.
To put it as simply as I can, the story is about a boy, Daniel, who discovers a book titled “The Shadow of the Wind”, written by a Julian Carax. He reads and falls in love with the book, and decides to hunt down all the other books that Carax has written. His determination to find Carax’s books brings him on a journey that is so similar to that of a character in Carax’s book, I started to get a little lost.
In a way, this book reads like a thriller. At almost every page, there’s something new to discover, some secret to find out, some identity exposed. There’s almost never a dull moment; something is always happening. And not only that, there seems to be a million stories going on at the same time: Carax’s book, Carax’s own life, Daniel’s life…
Step by step the narrative split into a thousand stories, as if it had entered a gallery of mirrors, its identity fragmented into endless reflections.
I had started the book with somewhat high expectations. To read a book about another book sounded exciting to me. In the end, though, I’m not sure that the book did nearly enough for me to fully enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. It could very possibly have been my own fault, as I had spread the reading of this book throughout an entire month. For such a fast-paced book, perhaps it would have worked much better for me had I read it within a few days.
But still, it fell a little short of my expectations. The language used was beautiful, but at some points I found it all a little too flowery, sugar-coated almost, to the point where I wish Zafon could have kept it just a little simpler. No doubt that there are many phrases that are just lovely, but somehow the language stayed in its own place, never quite integrating into the storyline. For me at least.
A story is a letter the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.
A story about writing stories, about reading and about books. I just wish The Shadow of the Wind could have made me feel the way The Shadow of the Wind in the book made Daniel feel.