My fellow advertising buddy Katie reminded me to post about this book, but it was my old housemate Jonathan who first told me about it. Other than being amazed that he could actually read, I was also intrigued by the sound of the story straight away. And he was good enough to lend me his copy. Whatta guy.
I’ve actually had to re-read it since; because there are so many twists and turns I’d forgotten what actually happens. My brain seems to do that with clever plots. I must have seen The Bourne Identity about fifteen times. What happens? Haven’t the foggiest. Some girl dyes her hair and people keep trying to kill people.
This story begins with a young boy named Daniel, living in post-war Barcelona, who comes into the possession of a book: The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. Daniel’s father takes him to get the book valued by Barcelo, who immediately tries to buy it. It turns out that this book is a rarity, along with Carax’s other novels,. Daniel refuses to sell the book, but develops an infatuation with Barcelo’s blind niece Clara. He offers to read the book to her, and together, they become engrossed in The Shadow of the Wind. However, it isn’t long before Daniel starts to recognize scenes from the novel taking place in his own life. He discovers he is being watched from afar by a mysterious figure, who also approaches Clara at close quarters as she cannot identify his face. Eventually, the mysterious figure identifies himself to Daniel as Lain Coubert – the name of a character from The Shadow of the Wind who represents the devil. Coubert also tries to purchase the book from Daniel, at any price. When Daniel refuses and asks him why he wants the book so badly, he replies, “To burn it”. As Daniel begins to dig deeper into The Shadow of the Wind and its author, he begins to unravel a story that has been buried for years.
I know it’s a cliché, but this book genuinely hooks you from the beginning. I’ve been tuckered out all week after many a late night reading it, because I’m a real party animal like that. So I really recommend you get in amongst this excellent book. I imagine it’s like taking crack for reading and nerds.