My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a book about books. It is a book about words. It is a book about writing those words. A book about reading books. A book about the love for all of the above. About our first love. About friendship. About war and destruction. But at the end of it all, about love.
As Zafon says, ‘Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.’
The book I read before this one was a light hearted, dark humoured, hilariously fictional story about a 100 year old man and his journey. The Shadow of the Wind managed to rip my soul out of that merry world and slam it right onto the civil war ravaged streets of Barcelona. Do not expect a Barcelona of Gaudi and Naruda or of what you see in any movie. This is version of Barcelona is bordering on being Dickensian.
Having said that, Zafon takes you on a journey of a curious teenager, Daniel, who is just one of us; not brave enough, not old enough, completely in love and trying to fit in with grown ups.
It is a story summed up by Zafon himself when he says ‘Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.’
The book borders on quiet a few genres and leaves you wondering how you can eventually try and summarise it. But that might be it, not easy to summarise a book which has quotes such as ‘Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not for the merits of who receives them’ and ‘We exist as long as somebody remembers us.’
At a point I was reading the book more to discover such words than to know where Daniel would end up next. The plot might be akin to certain ‘Bollywood’ movies of yore, but you can’t really argue with the way it unravels.
This one is bound to stay with you for days after you finish reading it.