The Shadow of the Wind (Spain)

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Narrated by Jonathan Davis

Setting: 1950s Barcelona

Story: When protagonist Daniel is just a child, his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books—a vast and secret library where books in danger of extinction live for all time. (Book nerds, start salivating!) Daniel’s mission there is to choose one special book whose existence he will protect for life.

Daniel sets out to investigate his chosen tome and stumbles upon a mystery—what happened to the book’s disturbed, talented, and wildly unsuccessful author? And why is someone seeking out and burning all his books? Along with Fermín, a hilarious friend and self-described ladies’ man, Daniel sets out to uncover the author’s secrets and stop his work from being destroyed.

Writing: Quite readable with some literary flair. (It’s a translation, however, so I can’t comment on the original.)

Best thing about it: Fermín is just a great character who lends some wonderful levity to the book. His relationship with Daniel is touching and three-dimensional—not the usual fare. I also love that the mysterious author is amazingly gifted, yet can’t sell a novel to save his life!

Worst thing about it: Shockingly, I can’t think of anything to complain about.

Audiobook insights: Highly recommended. Davis is a genius at distinguishing the characters from one another, especially in bringing Fermín to life.

Final thoughts: This literary mystery and coming-of-age story is a great read.

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