Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'cemetery of lost books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out 'La Sombra del Viento' by Julian Carax.
But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from La Sombra del Viento, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax's work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind. A page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.
©2011 Carlos Ruiz Zafon (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited
"dark but good"
About 3/4 of my way through this book I couldn't imagine ever recommending it to anybody, as the bleakness of the situation of the main characters seemed unreversible, but here I am! A word of warning - not all the "goodies" have happy endings... It is a good book though. The characters are rich, engaging and entertaining and the plot twists I didn't see coming, even though I was trying to figure them out. The narration was more of a straight reading than other audiobooks I have listened to, not much putting on of voices. This is perhaps preferable to overacting, as voices can distract, but the narrator does sound a bit too English for a story set is Barcelona, for me.
I came upon this book by chance - I liked the look of the cover - it was that simple. That was where the simplicity ended. What an astonishing read. I have never come across an author like Zafon - beautifully crafted story which takes you on an amazing literary journey. A book about books - sounds like a dull read but it is so far removed from dull. Do books have souls? This book could go a long way to convincing you that they do ..... I've gone on to read more of Zafon's books, but this is the one which grabbed me and is head and shoulders above the rest.
I had already read this as an ebook, but I enjoeyed the book even more listening to it. The narration is fantastic. There were moments when I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I also found it very illuminating on the conditions in Barcelona after the Civil War.There was so much to this book that I may well read it again.
"With out a shadow of a doubt, brilliant."
A wonderfully evocative book. I have never been to Barcelona but after reading this I feel like I know it very well. The story transports and is one of the few books I have ever read in one day. Part romance part thriller all brilliant.
I wrote to Audible asking for them to make this available on their UK site and within a few days they had. I have never come across better customer service than this. Thank you Audible
"An excellent mystery."
I read this book some years ago, but wanted to re visit it as I felt I had not fully appreciated it. I found that having it “read to me” made all the difference as the whole story came alive. The plot is complex and skilfully developed, in the setting of Barcelona at its most beautiful and at its most sinister. There are dark and murderous and incidents throughout the narrative, but so deftly handled that they never become horrific. The characters are superbly drawn and developed and the narrator is excellent.
"Like wading through treacle"
Unfortunately what is a wonderful basic story idea has been rendered almost dire by the combination of the clumsy mechanics of the writing and the overblown purple prose. The first couple of chapters were good and promised an intriguing story, but it all went downhill from there. The book needed to be at least one-third shorter and the writer needs to find more efficient ways of moving the story forward. Some of the characters were almost cringe-worthy. I may be doing the author an injustice though because I have read critiques from those who have read it in the original Spanish and apparently many were appalled at the translation. If I could read Spanish I would read the book again to get a better idea of what the author originally meant to say in his own tongue. But, unlike many of the 7 million people who bought this book world-wide, I cannot recommend it. I am just baffled as to where the author was going with this book and what he wanted to say once he got there.
This is a whodunit with a difference. Excellently narrated by Daniel Philpott it is set in Barcelona and spans 50 years.The leading character, who has his own problems to deal with during the course of the book, tries to unravel the mystery surrounding the writer of a book which has entranced him.. The plot is like a tapestry where the different colours are woven in to give an eminantly pleasing whole.Add to that the author's "european" style of writing and I was intrigued to the very end.
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