Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Shadow of the Wind

Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.
James Russell Lowell (1819–91), poet

I interrupt the regularly scheduled post to share with you the most enjoyable book I have read in some time. Wife’s friend, and mine too, is in a book club and told me about a book that anyone who reads it loves it.

The book, “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, is a bibliophile mystery that is so rich in story and characters that I am delighted that I read slowly and can savor every page of this almost 500-page novel. I am not a sophisticated literary reader. I read about 15 to 20 books a year, while B2 reads that in a month, On The Mark a few less than that, but nonetheless I love reading.

I started this book knowing very little about it. I read a brief synopsis of it on Amazon before I ordered it in hard cover. I started “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy while waiting for the book to arrive and was thrilled that it was not any longer than its 241 pages because that was a dismal world I certainly hope none of us ever see.

I opened the first page of "The Shadow of the Wind" and the first line hooked me: “I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time.” I have underlined a few lines that I will use in quotes before posts as I did in Friday’s “Credit Card Crooks.” Here are a few since blogging most likely will go back it irregular postings as vacation ends when the alarm goes off tomorrow at 5 a.m.:

“In this world the only opinion that holds court is prejudice.”

“…man is a social animal, characterized by cronyism, nepotism, corruption, and gossip.” (you know I will use this for a post on the corrupt Bush administration)

“Army, Marriage, the Church, and Banking: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

“Darwin was a dreamer, I can assure you. No evolution of anything of the sort. For every one who can reason, I have to battle with nine orangutans.”

“There are few reasons for telling the truth, but in lying the number is infinite.”

The New York Times blurb on the back jacket, which I just now read, sums it up perfectly: “Gabriel Garcia Marquéz meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges for a sprawling magic show, exasperatingly tricky and mostly wonderful…Ruiz Zafón gives us a panoply of alluring and savage personages and stories. His novel eddies in currents of passion, revenge and mysteries whose layers peel away onion-like, yet persist in growing back…We are taken on a wild ride that executes is hairpin bends with breathtaking lurches.”


Pirate said...

It sounds like you would enjoy "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. It is also wonderfully rich with character, and told with such dignity and grace. It is a wonderful book for bibliophiles, also. I'll look into the Shadow of the wind, for sure. Thanks.

The Misanthrope said...

Hi Pirate, I read that book last year. I thought it was okay, it didn't knock my socks off. It may have something to do with mood and since I have been on vacation I'm more relaxed. If you read "Shadow" I would love to hear what you thought.

Johnna Adams said...

I will run right out and read it. In fact I have "Shadow" on my shelf and just hadn't got a around to it. This is good motivation. You should set up an account at and add me as a friend, then we can share reading lists.