First of all, let me start off with the cover. My copy of the book is red and looks like a box of chocolates and reminds me a lot of Forrest Gump: you never know what you’re gonna get when you turn the page. Honestly, I never realized how weary I was of books like this until I started reading it.
It’s set in Barcelona, post Spanish Civil War. Daniel Sempere, the main character, goes to the Cemetery of Forgotten books with his father and finds the last copy of The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. Daniel’s obsession with the book’s author lead him to Ferrin Romero de Torres, a homeless beggar when the duo first met.
I got goosebumps reading Nuria Monfort’s chapter. She worked for Julian’s publisher and was one of Javier’s targets. In a letter to Daniel anticipating her murder, she captures her experience of being a prized prey to a powerful stalker:
“Time has taught me not to lose hope, yet not to trust too much in hope either. Hope is cruel, and has no conscience. For a long time, Fumero has been watching me. He knows I’ll fall, sooner or later. He’s not in a hurry. He lives to avenge himself. On everyone and on himself. Without vengeance, without anger, he would melt away. . .He knows that after almost fifteen years, I have no more strength or resources. He has watched me die for years, and he’s only waiting for the moment when he will deal me the last blow. I have never doubted that I will die by his hand. . .the moment is drawing near.”
and sadly she was correct.
Every single detail between these pages captivated me. The writing was breathtaking with such beautifully strung sentences. The plot isn’t the best, but the mysterious,magical air that Zafon creates completely propels you through it, page after wonderful page. I first read this book in Spanish but wanted to give the English version a read and holy toledo is that translation impressive.