I recently picked up The Shadow of the Wind and before I knew it, Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s novel quickly became my closest companion from dawn to dusk. It was so captivating, I just could not put it down.
Without further ado, here are my reasons why you should read The Shadow of the Wind.
One of the Best Translated Works
The Shadow of the Wind was originally written in Spanish but translated in English. That’s right, this beautiful masterpiece is the translated version.
Choppy flow, awkward sentences and weird references seem to be common in many translated works. But not in The Shadow of the Wind! Lucia Graves managed to translate the author’s words while still keeping it lyrically expressive.
Hats off to you, Lucia Graves!
Simple Yet Engaging Plot
Not all books need to have a complicated plot line for it to be interesting. Take a look at J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
Personally, I felt that the plot of The Lord of the Rings was a very simple one. A young hobbit found a ring and must now embark on a quest to destroy it. But still, the novel not only captured my heart, but the hearts of countless others and was even dubbed UK’s best-loved book based on a survey conducted by BBC in 2014.
The Shadow of the Wind’s plot is also a simple one: The son of a bookshop owner falls in love with a book and tries to find the elusive author. Yet at no point in time did the novel loosen its grip on my attention. The author structured the entire story in a way that keeps you guessing before finally throwing you off your feet with the grand reveal.
Imagery, if not done well, eats away at my patience and interest for the book. Thankfully, Carlos Ruiz Zafón uses imagery to complement instead of complicating the plot. More often than not, I’ll find myself having no trouble picturing what he described. Here’s an example:
“Perpetually affixed to his mouth was an unlit pipe that
impregnated his person with the aroma of a Persian market.
He liked to describe himself as the last romantic, and he was
not above claiming that a remote line in his ancestry led
directly to Lord Byron himself. As if to prove this connection,
Barceló fashioned his wardrobe in the style of a nineteenth-century
dandy. His casual attire consisted of a cravat, white
patent leather shoes, and a plain glass monocle that, according
to malicious gossip, he did not remove even in the
intimacy of the lavatory.”
From his description alone you can already get a better idea of how this Barceló character looked, acted and even smelt!
The characters in The Shadow of the Wind are filled with so much depth and personality, they feel as real as you and I. Each of them broken and flawed in one way or another and yet thanks to that, we’re able to relate to them better.
Take this quote used to describe Antoni Fortuny, one of the minor characters in the novel for example:
“I could tell you it’s the heart, but what is really killing him is loneliness. Memories are worse than bullets.”
Instead of being proud that his son, Julian, was living a better life than him, Fortuny was jealous. His attempts at sabotaging Julian’s success eventually led to Julian running away from home.
Haunted by regret, Fortuny lost his business along with his youthful vigour and became desperate to make up for his wrongdoings. The unbearable pain of “what could have been” that drives us to jump on the first chance we get to redeem ourselves is a sensation most of us are familiar with.
Ridiculously Great Quotes
Seriously, if you’re looking to spice up your Instagram posts with words of wisdom, look no further as almost every single page of the novel houses a profound quote. Just to prove my point, I flipped to a random page on the book and found this quote:
“A secret’s worth depends on the people whom it must be kept.”
I could ramble on for days on why you should read The Shadow of the Wind, but alas, I must conclude this article and what better way to do so than by borrowing the words of the protagonist?
“Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.”