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Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I was really anticipating a great book when I started reading this book. So many reviews just love it and gush over it. It started out well with the 10 year old son of a bookseller being taken by his father into the Cemetery of Forgotten Books to take out one book to keep. Daniel does so and, after reading the book which was called The Shadow of the Wind, dedicates himself to finding the author. At first the mystery was interesting and the language was just beautiful! The author has a very elegant way of stringing words together. He painted a very dark, gloomy, gothic picture of Barcelona and Daniel's life. Daniel keeps up his search through several years, and gains an assistant in his quest but also finds enemies, one of whom is the avowed lifelong adversary of Julian Carax who was the author of book Daniel found.

After awhile, however, I found myself wanting to skim through sections and wishing the book wasn't so long. Having too many characters and being too convoluted, the plot just wasn't strong enough to carry the overly long descriptions. The book just seemed to drag on and on. What had started out as something I enjoyed became what I didn't like. It was like eating only chocolate day in and day out. I also didn't understand why a teenaged boy would be so obsessive over the author of a book, nor did I understand why Carax' enemy would be so set on killing him over what was a childhood slight.I enjoyed the romance of Bea and Daniel but some of the other romances could have been left out of the book, in fact a lot of things could have been left out.

I saw an interview with the author where he said that this book was a book about reading for those who love to read. There were two lines that were about reading that I especially liked:

"...this was a story about lonely people, about absence and loss, and that was why I had taken refuge in it until it becamse confuse dwith my own life, like someone who has escaped into the pages of a novel becuase those whom he needs to love seem nothing more than ghosts inhabiting the mind of a stranger." I feel that way sometimes. I'll finish a book and the characters in the book seem more real than those around me and I have to readjust my thinking.

and

"Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you." I think this is the best line in the book!

Rated R for strong language, sex scenes, and violence.

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