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Review: The Shadow of the Wind

Other folks such as frabjousdave and ironymaiden have recommended The Shadow of the Wind on their blogs, and I'm here to tell you, they ain't lyin'. Written by Carlos Ruis Zafon in Spanish and translated into English by Lucia Graves (yes, the daughter of poet Robert Graves), it's an astounding love story, a terrific intertextual exercise, and a bit of a mash note to Barcelona. It's a story that comes all wrapped up in a modest bit of newsprint from just after the Spanish Civil War — a text bomb rolled under the watchful eye of cigar readers of impeccable political character.

Seriously, if you like the almost hallucinatory quality of prose by Marquez or Borges, but you prefer something with a more direct plot and more approachable characterization, this is a fine read. It's not quite as erotic as Jorge Amado, but it's heading that direction.

While the interwoven stories are almost too neatly structured at a couple of points, the book stays warm and approachable without becoming cloying. It's partly a book about loving books, and it's a mysterious romance, and it combines an enjoyable story with some fine sensory overload — no mean feat.

By the end of page 4 I thought "He can't possibly keep this up." In one sense, he doesn't: the book is far more accessible than most of the South Americans who have crossed over the language barrier into English. But by the end of the novel, … well, I won't spoil it, but I was very pleased with Senor Zafon's first effort, and look forward to his future work.

Shadow of the Wind: ★★★★★


( 1 sutra — Your wisdom )
Mar. 3rd, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks, oh monkey_king! I was just looking for accessible SA lit.
( 1 sutra — Your wisdom )

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