My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Description from Amazon
Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘cemetery of lost books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out ‘La Sombra del Viento’ by Julian Carax.
But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from La Sombra del Viento, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax’s work in order to burn them.
What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind. A page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.
What I thought of it
Atmospheric, mysterious, secretive and dangerous, this story stands with one foot in the past, the other in the present.
When young Daniel chooses ‘The Shadow of the Wind’, just one of the many books secreted within The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, he soon discovers that he is not the only one interested in the book, or in its author, Julian Carax.
Why does someone want to burn every copy of ‘The Shadow of the Wind’? How do the book’s characters relate to shadowy people who appear in Daniel’s life? What happened to Julian Carax? Who tortured the beggar, Fermin, leaving his back scarred, his life in tatters? What secrets is Nuria Monfort concealing, and why?
Above all, what ‘strange chain of destiny’ links them all with Daniel, and with those he loves?
There are teasing tendrils of mystery at the heart of this novel, all bound within the adoration and power of story.
There are also some light dustings of humour, particularly within the dialogue.
Beautifully written, the language of this book is awash with light and shadow. A book to be savoured, and one whose echoes follow me still.