06 August 2013

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I don’t remember who it was who recommended I read this book, but I DO remember that it was more than one person. So good job, all of you.

The thing about well-translated works is that they sing in the second language as well as in the first, and this is a VERY well translated work. As an at-one-time fluent Spanish speaker, I have a soft spot in my heart for Spanish idioms and expressions, which Lucia Graves has maintained to my UTTER DELIGHT.

I dunno what you might have heard, or whether you might have (like I did) mixed this book up with Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind, which is an honest mistake because seriously, authors, get your naming conventions together. But if what you probably have heard is anything like what I heard about this book, you might be shocked to find out that the somewhat fantastical novel you expected – full of Cemeteries of Forgotten Books and whimsical quests to keep books alive is, in fact, NOT THAT THING. Instead, you will discover a Gothic romance complete with what may as well be Laurentina’s skeleton behind a tattered curtain.

Soooo scaaaaary! 
In 1945, Daniel chooses a book on his 10th birthday from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. He is promptly accosted by many people who want the book, for mostly nefarious reasons, and the plot unfolds from there like the Marauder’s Map – all bits over here and a folded part over there, that come together to make a whole picture, but not of Hogwarts.

More's the pity.
Daniel goes along, finding stuff out about the author of the book and falling in and out and in and out of love along the way as he grows older. And it’s so, so beautifully written that when it drags about 2/3 of the way through you won’t mind much, and when you slowly narrow down the various culprits juuuust ahead of Daniel, you’ll be smug, and when it ends, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s part of a trilogy.

The second book of which is waiting for me at el biblioteca right now.

8 of 11 Brains Rotted by Reading, Just Like that Sancho Panza