La sombra del viento (The Shadow of the Wind)

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Un amanecer de 1945 un muchacho es conducido por su padre a un misterioso lugar oculto en el corazón de la ciudad vieja: El Cementerio de los Libros Olvidados. Allí, Daniel Sempere encuentra un libro maldito que cambiará el rumbo de su vida y le arrastrará a un laberinto de intrigas y secretos enterrados en el alma oscura de la ciudad.

La sombra del viento es un misterio literario ambientado en la Barcelona de la primera mitad del siglo XX, desde los últimos esplendores del ...

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La Sombra del Viento

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Overview

Un amanecer de 1945 un muchacho es conducido por su padre a un misterioso lugar oculto en el corazón de la ciudad vieja: El Cementerio de los Libros Olvidados. Allí, Daniel Sempere encuentra un libro maldito que cambiará el rumbo de su vida y le arrastrará a un laberinto de intrigas y secretos enterrados en el alma oscura de la ciudad.

La sombra del viento es un misterio literario ambientado en la Barcelona de la primera mitad del siglo XX, desde los últimos esplendores del Modernismo a las tinieblas de la posguerra. Esta excelente novela mezcla técnicas de relato de intriga, de novela histórica y de comedia de costumbres pero es, sobre todo, una tragedia histórica de amor cuyo eco se proyecta a través del tiempo. Con gran fuerza narrativa, el autor entrelaza tramas y enigmas a modo de muñecas rusas en un inolvidable relato sobre los secretos del corazón y el embrujo de los libros, manteniendo la intriga hasta la última página.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Hay pocos libros que se leen sabiendo que no se olvidarán. Son aún menos los que le producen esa sensación a muchas personas en diversos sitios, culturas, y lenguas. La sombra del viento es uno de esos muy pocos libros entre los mejores que se leen con pasión y ansiedad por saber qué y cómo sigue, pero sin querer que se termine.

Todo empieza con un chico a quien su padre, un humilde librero, lleva una tarde a conocer el Cementerio de los Libros Olvidados. De pronto, a través de un libro misterioso (La sombra del viento) y un autor intrigante de quien nada se sabe (Julián Carax), se desata una inteligente y exquisita trama de suspenso en la que es difícil discernir qué (si algo) es fantástico y qué tal vez demasiado real. El escenario es la Barcelona de los 40, donde muchos sino todos guardan recuerdos dolorosos y cicatrices.

Con un mordaz sentido del humor que no quita el drama, el protagonista deviene aprendiz de librero y héroe impensado, imbatible, confundido y enamorado. El, como los personajes que lo rodean, es humano, falible, entrañable y parece un prototipo literario. Porque, sin ser pretencioso ni caer en el cliché, este es un libro acerca de los libros y tal vez se trate de un libro dentro de otro libro. Es también una buena historia muy bien escrita que, como los clásicos, lo tiene todo: amor, misterio, aventura, intriga, suspenso. Y todo es dicho con cierta elegancia de novela clásica y también con lenguaje y prosa claros y directos, sin remilgos.

La sombra del viento ha sido un éxito de crítica y ventas en los países que hablan español, y en otros a cuyos 20 idiomas se ha traducido --una excellente versión en inglés se lanzará en los Estados Unidos en abril de 2004--. Jorge Ramos lo recomendó en su club del libro y dijo: "Tiene suspenso, drama, amor y está escrito que da gusto. Para mí ha sido uno de los grandes descubrimientos de la literatura este año. Carlos Ruiz Zafón está destinado a ser uno de los grandes jóvenes escritores de nuestros tiempos." En la última edición de la prestigiosa feria del libro de Frankfurt, Joschka Fischer, ministro alemán de relaciones exteriores, se deshizo en elogios a esta novela que vendió más de 100.000 ejemplares en su primer mes en Alemania. En España, un conocido crítico escribió que La sombra del viento anunciaba un nuevo "fenómeno de la literatura popular española". Podría haber dicho simplemente "de la literatura", y no se hubiera equivocado. (Patricia Arancibia)

Publishers Weekly
A Barcelona-born novelist based in Los Angeles, Ruiz Zafón was a finalist for the Spanish Fernando Lara de Novela award with this fifth novel. This thriller follows the mysterious disappearance of an author of melodramas, Julián Carax, and how his book influences the 10-year-old Daniel Sempere. When Daniel visits a mysterious and secret Library of Forgotten Books in 1940s Barcelona and finds Carax's novel The Shadow of the Wind, he becomes obsessed with Carax. For more than a decade, he follows the writer's ghost through a labyrinth of love, sex, violence, friendship, and betrayal. The narration unfolds through an interesting, yet overextended, interplay of overlapping characters and stories. Carax's and Ruiz Zafón's novels blend throughout the story, sometimes misleading the reader but ending in masterfully executed pages. Ruiz Zafón explores the world of antique books, the city of Barcelona, and the animosity inherited from the Spanish Civil War. Some scenes in this thriller also refer to Borges's exploration of libraries, the labyrinth structure, and Arturo Pérez-Reverte's study of hypertextuality in works like El club Dumas (The Dumas Club, Suma de Letras, 2000). Although Ruiz Zafón uses some complex metaphors to imitate Carax's melodramatic style, his language is mostly clear and accessible to all readers. Recommended for public libraries and bookstores. Leda Schiavo, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
El Mundo
"...el éxito (de La sombra del viento) se debe al acierto con el que se ha aproximado a temas universales como el amor el misterio o la pérdida de la inocencia. Se trata al cabo de cómo se nos cuenta, no de qué se nos cuenta. La sombra del viento es una celebración de la narración que entusiasma a los lectores.
Qué Leer
Una obra ambiciosa, capaz de conjugar los más variados estilos (desde la comedia de costumbres hasta el apunte histórico pasando por el misterio central) sin perder por ello un ápice de su poder de fascinación.
La Vanguardia
Aunque con ecos superficiales de Mendoza y Pérez-Reverte, la voz de Ruiz Zafón es de una originalidad a prueba de bomba. La sombra del viento anuncia un fenómeno de la literatura popular española. ---Sergio Villa-Sanjuán.
From the Publisher
“Todos los que disfruten con novelas terroríficas, eróticas, conmovedoras, trágicas y de suspense, deberían apresurarse a la librería más cercana y apoderarse de un ejemplar de La Sombra del Viento. De verdad, deberían hacerlo”. —The Washington Post “Una vez más he hallado un libro que prueba cuán maravilloso es sumergirse en una novela rica y larga... Esta novela lo tiene todo: seducción, riesgo, venganza y un misterio que el autor teje de forma magistral”. —The Philadelphia EnquirerLa Sombra del Viento es un libro de verdad, una novela llena de esplendor y de trampas y secretos donde hasta las subtramas tienen subtramas… una lectura deslumbrante”. —Stephen King.   “La voz de Ruiz Zafón es de una originalidad a prueba de bomba”. —La Vanguardia “Ruiz Zafón ha logrado producir ese fenómeno maravilloso que ocurre cuando un libro es devorado, incluso por quienes no suelen leerlos… escribir una novela que rinde homenaje al poder cautivador de la literatura”.El Nuevo Herald
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780974872407
  • Publisher: Planeta Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Barcelona, 1964) obtuvo el premio Edebé de Literatura con su primera novela, El príncipe de la niebla, en 1993. Desde entonces ha publicado cuatro novelas y se ha convertido en una de las revelaciones literarias de los últimos tiempos con La sombra del viento, finalista del Premio de Novela Fernando Lara 2001 y del Premio Llibreter 2002. Sus obras han sido traducidas a 9 idiomas. En la actualidad reside en Los Angeles, donde trabaja en una novela y colabora habitualmente con los diarios españoles La Vanguardia y El País.
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Read an Excerpt

La Sombra del Viento / Shadow of the Wind
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon Planeta

Copyright © 2004 Carlos Ruiz Zafon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780974872407


Chapter One

A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept. My first thought on waking was to tell my best friend about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Tomas Aguilar was a classmate who devoted his free time and his talent to the invention of wonderfully ingenious contraptions of dubious practicality, like the aerostatic dart or the dynamo spinning top. I pictured us both, equipped with flashlights and compasses, uncovering the mysteries of those bibliographic catacombs. Who better than Tomas to share my secret? Then, remembering my promise, I decided that circumstances advised me to adopt what in detective novels is termed a different modus operandi. At noon I approached my father to quiz him about the book and about Julian Carax-both world famous, I assumed. My plan was to get my hands on his complete works and read them all by the end of the week. To my surprise, I discovered that my father, a natural-born librarian and a walking lexicon of publishers' catalogs and oddities, had never heard of The Shadow of the Wind or Julian Carax. Intrigued, he examined the printing history on the back of the title page for clues.

"It says here that this copy is part of an edition of twenty-five hundred printed in Barcelona by Cabestany Editores, in June 1936."

"Do you knowthe publishing house?"

"It closed down years ago. But, wait, this is not the original. The first edition came out in November 1935 but was printed in Paris.... Published by Galiano & Neuval. Doesn't ring a bell."

"So is this a translation?"

"It doesn't say so. From what I can see, the text must be the original one."

"A book in Spanish, first published in France?"

"It's not that unusual, not in times like these," my father put in. "Perhaps Barcels can help us...."

Gustavo Barcels was an old colleague of my father's who now owned a cavernous establishment on Calle Fernando with a commanding position in the city's secondhand-book trade. Perpetually affixed to his mouth was an unlit pipe that impregnated his person with the aroma of a Persian market. He liked to describe himself as the last romantic, and he was not above claiming that a remote line in his ancestry led directly to Lord Byron himself. As if to prove this connection, Barcels fashioned his wardrobe in the style of a nineteenth-century dandy. His casual attire consisted of a cravat, white patent leather shoes, and a plain glass monocle that, according to malicious gossip, he did not remove even in the intimacy of the lavatory. Flights of fancy aside, the most significant relative in his lineage was his begetter, an industrialist who had become fabulously wealthy by questionable means at the end of the nineteenth century. According to my father, Gustavo Barcels was, technically speaking, loaded, and his palatial bookshop was more of a passion than a business. He loved books unreservedly, and-although he denied this categorically-if someone stepped into his bookshop and fell in love with a tome he could not afford, Barcels would lower its price, or even give it away, if he felt that the buyer was a serious reader and not an accidental browser. Barcels also boasted an elephantine memory allied to a pedantry that matched his demeanor and the sonority of his voice. If anyone knew about odd books, it was he. That afternoon, after closing the shop, my father suggested that we stroll along to the Els Quatre Gats, a cafi on Calle Montsis, where Barcels and his bibliophile knights of the round table gathered to discuss the finer points of decadent poets, dead languages, and neglected, moth-ridden masterpieces.

Els Quatre Gats was just a five-minute walk from our house and one of my favorite haunts. My parents had met there in 1932, and I attributed my one-way ticket into this world in part to the old cafi's charms. Stone dragons guarded a lamplit fagade anchored in shadows. Inside, voices seemed shaded by the echoes of other times. Accountants, dreamers, and would-be geniuses shared tables with the specters of Pablo Picasso, Isaac Albiniz, Federico Garcma Lorca, and Salvador Dalm. There any poor devil could pass for a historical figure for the price of a small coffee.

"Sempere, old man," proclaimed Barcels when he saw my father come in. "Hail the prodigal son. To what do we owe the honor?"

"You owe the honor to my son, Daniel, Don Gustavo. He's just made a discovery."

"Well, then, pray come and sit down with us, for we must celebrate this ephemeral event," he announced.

"Ephemeral?" I whispered to my father.

"Barcels can express himself only in frilly words," my father whispered back. "Don't say anything, or he'll get carried away."

The lesser members of the coterie made room for us in their circle, and Barcels, who enjoyed flaunting his generosity in public, insisted on treating us.

"How old is the lad?" inquired Barcels, inspecting me out of the corner of his eye.

"Almost eleven," I announced.

Barcels flashed a sly smile.

"In other words, ten. Don't add on any years, you rascal. Life will see to that without your help."

A few of his chums grumbled in assent. Barcels signaled to a waiter of such remarkable decrepitude that he looked as if he should be declared a national landmark.

"A cognac for my friend Sempere, from the good bottle, and a cinnamon milk shake for the young one-he's a growing boy. Ah, and bring us some bits of ham, but spare us the delicacies you brought us earlier, eh? If we fancy rubber, we'll call for Pirelli tires."

The waiter nodded and left, dragging his feet.

"I hate to bring up the subject," Barcels said, "but how can there be jobs? In this country nobody ever retires, not even after they're dead. Just look at El Cid. I tell you, we're a hopeless case."

He sucked on his cold pipe, eyes already scanning the book in my hands. Despite his pretentious fagade and his verbosity, Barcels could smell good prey the way a wolf scents blood.

"Let me see," he said, feigning disinterest. "What have we here?"

I glanced at my father. He nodded approvingly. Without further ado, I handed Barcels the book. The bookseller greeted it with expert hands. His pianist's fingers quickly explored its texture, consistency, and condition. He located the page with the publication and printer's notices and studied it with Holmesian flair. The rest watched in silence, as if awaiting a miracle, or permission to breathe again.

"Carax. Interesting," he murmured in an inscrutable tone.

I held out my hand to recover the book. Barcels arched his eyebrows but gave it back with an icy smile.

"Where did you find it, young man?"

"It's a secret," I answered, knowing that my father would be smiling to himself. Barcels frowned and looked at my father. "Sempere, my dearest old friend, because it's you and because of the high esteem I hold you in, and in honor of the long and profound friendship that unites us like brothers, let's call it at forty duros, end of story."

"You'll have to discuss that with my son," my father pointed out. "The book is his."

Barcels granted me a wolfish smile. "What do you say, laddie? Forty duros isn't bad for a first sale.... Sempere, this boy of yours will make a name for himself in the business."

The choir cheered his remark. Barcels gave me a triumphant look and pulled out his leather wallet. He ceremoniously counted out two hundred pesetas, which in those days was quite a fortune, and handed them to me. But I just shook my head. Barcels scowled.

"Dear boy, greed is most certainly an ugly, not to say mortal, sin. Be sensible. Call me crazy, but I'll raise that to sixty duros, and you can open a retirement fund. At your age you must start thinking of the future."

I shook my head again. Barcels shot a poisonous look at my father through his monocle.

"Don't look at me," said my father. "I'm only here as an escort."

Barcels sighed and peered at me closely.

"Let's see, junior. What is it you want?"

"What I want is to know who Julian Carax is and where I can find other books he's written."

Barcels chuckled and pocketed his wallet, reconsidering his adversary.

"Goodness, a scholar. Sempere, what do you feed the boy?"

The bookseller leaned toward me confidentially, and for a second I thought he betrayed a look of respect that had not been there a few moments earlier.

"We'll make a deal," he said. "Tomorrow, Sunday, in the afternoon, drop by the Ateneo library and ask for me. Bring your precious find with you so that I can examine it properly, and I'll tell you what I know about Julian Carax. Quid pro quo."

"Quid pro what?"

"Latin, young man. There's no such thing as dead languages, only dormant minds. Paraphrasing, it means that you can't get something for nothing, but since I like you, I'm going to do you a favor."

The man's oratory could kill flies in midair, but I suspected that if I wanted to find out anything about Julian Carax, I'd be well advised to stay on good terms with him. I proffered my most saintly smile in delight at his Latin outpourings.

"Remember, tomorrow, in the Ateneo," pronounced the bookseller. "But bring the book, or there's no deal."

"Fine."

Our conversation slowly merged into the murmuring of the other members of the coffee set. The discussion turned to some documents found in the basement of El Escorial that hinted at the possibility that Don Miguel de Cervantes had in fact been the nom de plume of a large, hairy lady of letters from Toledo. Barcels seemed distracted, not tempted to claim a share in the debate. He remained quiet, observing me from his fake monocle with a masked smile. Or perhaps he was only looking at the book I held in my hands.



Continues...


Excerpted from La Sombra del Viento / Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Copyright © 2004 by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Interviews & Essays

Entrevista con Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Barnes & Noble.com: Curiosidades biográficas: ¿Por qué y cuándo se mudó de Barcelona a Los Angeles? ¿Quiere quedarse?

Carlos Ruiz Zafón: Llegué a Los Angeles en 1994. Era un momento de mi vida en que necesitaba salir de Barcelona, irme lejos y hacer un viaje no sólo en la distancia sino también en la distancia mental. Creo que la experiencia fue, en general, positiva. Ahora siento que he completado el círculo y estoy pensando en volver ya a Barcelona, aunque pasaré parte del tiempo en los Estados Unidos, que también se ha convertido en mi hogar.

B&N.com: La sombra... fue finalista sin premio en el Fernando Lara, un certámen literario importante, y luego triunfó no por promoción sino por el boca a boca. Estando en L.A., ¿cómo acusó recibo de que, en el modo de devenir bestseller, se convertía en una suerte de Dan Brown español?

CRZ: La buena acogida de tu trabajo por parte de los lectores siempre es la mejor recompensa para un escritor, especialmente cuando es espontánea y sincera, producto de la lectura. No sé si Dan Brown es la comparación más exacta, aunque es un tremendo fenómeno de éxito mundial. Para mí el éxito más importante es el que ocurre con cada lector, sean dos o dos millones, y radica en la intensidad con que lee la obra, en lo que le llega, en ese acto de comunicación que existe entre autor y lector, íntimo y casi mágico. Las listas de ventas, que son importantes para quienes además de nuestra pasión hacemos de la literatura nuestra profesión, son otra cosa.

B&N.com: A Daniel, el protagonista, La sombra del viento le cambia la vida. ¿Qué libro cambió la suya?

CRZ: Más que un libro en concreto para mí lo que cambió mi vida fue el descubrimiento de la lectura, de la narración, del mundo de las ideas y de los libros. Mi sombra del viento es un libro de libros, de todos los libros.

B&N.com: En muchos sitios, como España y América Latina, hubo peróodos en los que se podía perder la vida por un libro, y se la perdía. ¿Pensó en esto mientras escribía La sombra...?

CRZ: Lamentablemente ayer, hoy, y probablemente mañana, se seguirá perdiendo la vida por las ideas, los libros, o por simplemente querer mantener la integridad personal frente al fanatismo totalitario de cualquier signo. Soy muy consciente de esta circunstancia, particularmente en días oscuros como los que vivimos en que el futuro cada vez se parece más al pasado.

B&N.com: Se especula con la posibilidad de hacer la película de La sombra…. Que si se filmaría en Hollywood o en España, que si se venden los derechos, que si usted, escritor y guionista, permitiría que otros conciban el guión, etc. ¿Cuál es su versión acerca de esto? ¿Y su deseo?

CRZ: La verdad es que, debido a que tengo cierta experiencia en este campo, soy muy prudente a este respecto. Si algún día hay una película de la novela será porque me ha parecido que se daban los factores adecuados, pero el tema en sí no es para mí en absoluto prioritario. Está muy bien que las novelas sean sólo novelas y no hace falta que todo se transforme en película, serie de TV, videojuego y gama de merchandising. Nada puede explicar historias, mundos y personajes con la profundidad e intensidad de la literatura. La sombra del viento es y será siempre primero una novela.

B&N.com: Antes de que se publicara la traducción al inglés, su libro tuvo en Estados Unidos numerosos lectores en español. Su obra, clásica, con tono europeo, entre la oscuridad de lo urbano y de la historia, tiene poco que ver con lo que quiso concebirse como la literatura en español en EEUU: historias (curiosa o astutamente escritas por latinos) de personajes prototípicos no tanto de la inmigración ni de América Latina -muchísimo menos de su literatura-- como de lo que algunos creen al respeto. Esa tendencia parece estar en retirada. ¿Qué observación le merece este fenómeno y qué futuro le proyecta a la literatura en español en EEUU?

CRZ: Es una buena pregunta. También a mí me ha parecido siempre un tanto peculiar, cuando no condescendiente, el tipo de literatura "en español" que se quería promocionar en EEUU, casi como si se tratase de una curiosidad étnica de colorines, repleta de tópicos y de prejuicios. Imagino que factores comerciales y culturales -o inculturales- condicionan que las cosas hayan sido así, pero las modas, por definición, estan condenadas a pasar de moda. Creo que la situación es un reflejo del espejismo cultural que confunde la percepción de lo "latino" en el mundo anglosajón norteamericano. La literatura en español es muy diversa y no se puede tipificar en estereotipos recalentados. Su futuro en los EEUU es una incógnita y un desafío que creo está en la mano de todos los hispanoparlantes, y leyentes, de este país.

B&N.com: La sombra... atrapa con una trama que no necesita segundas lecturas para sostenerse. Sin embargo, para quienes disfrutan el modo en que los libros hablan de otros libros, las huellas de y referencias a autores (Borges, Mendoza), libros, géneros y prototipos es fascinante. ¿Nos contaría los top ten de sus pasiones literarias?

CRZ: Soy un lector voraz y me cuesta reducir mis pasiones o referencias a una lista compacta. Intento leer sin prejuicios, con curiosidad, haciendo poco o ningún caso de las modas "críticas" o lo que en un momento fugaz se supone está bien o está mal. Me gustan los grandes novelistas del siglo XIX, de Dickens a Flaubert, a Tolstoi, etc... Me gusta la narrativa modernista del primer tercio del XX, John DosPassos, etc. Me gusta la narrativa de género, policíaca o fantástica, que creo es el campo donde han surgido las plumas más interesantes de los últimos 5 años, lejos del "wasteland" del mainstream literario, me gusta y me interesan elementos de la narrativa audiovisual que creo enriquecen el discurso narrativo contemporáneo, me gusta leer ensayo y sobre todo historia... Y sobre todo me gusta descubrir autores nuevos, vengan de donde vengan sin hacer caso alguno de lo que nos quieren convencer "is hot".

B&N.com: ¿Tuvo alguna vez la pesadilla de convertirse, como Julián Carax, en alguien que escribió libros maravillosos que (casi) nadie leyó?

CRZ: Todo escritor teme que su obra se pierda en el olvido, o que no llegue ni a ser descubierta, mucho menos olvidada. Lamentablemente la mayoría está en lo cierto. La literatura es una amante cruel y la fortuna no sonrie a menudo a quienes coquetean con ella.

B&N.com: Antes de La sombra, usted ganó premios y reconocimiento por otras novelas con misterios y romances, pero juveniles. ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre escribir para j&oaacute;venes y para adultos?¿Por qué el cambio?

CRZ: El cambio vino dictado por el hecho de que mi etapa como autor juvenil fue más accidental que vocacional. Mi registro natural no es el juvenil y tarde o temprano tenía que escribir lo que tenía que escribir. Dicho esto, la diferencia no es tanta. Hay que escribir con oficio, sinceridad y entregando lo mejor que se tiene. Las diferencias entre lo que se considera juvenil o adulto son, la mayoría de veces, arbitrarias. El 99 por ciento de la cultural popular que consumen los adultos es estrictamente juvenil, y nadie parece haberse dado cuenta. Son sólo etiquetas que, como se pegan, se despegan.

B&N.com: ¿En qué estadío evolutivo está su próximo libro? ¿De qué va?

CRZ: Estoy trabajando en él. Es una novela en la línea de La sombra del viento, un misterio literario ambientado en mi particular Barcelona gótica... y lo demás es un secreto.

B&N.com: ¿Hay alguna otra cosa que le gustaría compartir con sus lectores?

CRZ: Invitarles a que lean, a que descubran obras y autores de los que nunca oyeron hablar, a que desarrollen su propio criterio. Leer es vivir más y mejor, y la vida es corta. Así que carpe diem y carpe libri.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 94 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(81)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 94 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    A masterpiece

    La Sombra del Viento is the story of the son of a bookstore owner, Daniel Sempere, who is sent to the cemetery of the books--a place where books go when no one reads them--and is allowed to pick one. He chooses La Sombra del Viento by Julian Carax. After he reads the book a mysterious ghostlike figures follows him and tries to burn/buy the book from him. Daniel restores the book to the book cemetery but is intrigued by everything he reads in the novel. As he tries to research Julian Carax's life, he meets a series of adorable and sinister characters. Soon the story of the novel becomes Daniel's reality. As the keeper in the cemetery tells Daniel: 'Books are the reflection of people's lives'. And another character who knew Carax tells Daniel that' words arethe most terrible prison.' Set in the terrible years of the Spanish Civil War in Barcelona, the bad guy is a mercenary killer who wants to kill Carax because he was made fun of as a child. Soon the characters are interchanged- Daniel's love for his girl, Bea becomes a parallel reality for Carax's love for his girl, Penelope. All concludes in a epic drama that will leave the reader wishing for more.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2011

    Literature at it's very best!

    This is now my all time favorite book. It engages you right from the start! If you can read spanish, read it in spanish, since this is the language in which it was written originally. The english translation was good.....but nothing like the spanish version!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very entertaining and stimulating read

    Of the novels that I have read lately (as of July 2009), this one, by far, has been my favorite. Ruiz Zafon's book incorporates character development with suspense, along with humor and romance. The list of characters is long, and the reader would do well to keep a list in order not to forget who certain ones are as well as to visualize the relationships among them all (which may seem complicated at first, but really isn't once you've read the novel completely and look back on the plot development). Comments on the first page of the novel tell of possible influences by Eco, Garcia Marquez, and Borges, a comment with which I agree (especially in the case of Eco). Though it requires the reader to think in order to connect clues across time and space, it is not an overly-complicated novel and actually reads quite quickly. For those who wish to escape from the world of the 21st century and participate in the adventures of love and mystery of a young boy-becoming-man in Barcelona of the 1950s, I recommend this book. It has already become a bestseller in Spain, and my prediction is that it will become one of the classics of 21st-century Spanish literature.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2013

    Masterpiece

    This novel is without doubt one of the best novels in Spanish literature, full of love, suspense, mystery and magic, loved it from the very first word to the last, I will recommend this book for anyone that loves reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A very good book. Worth the read.

    Well... Let's start off by noting that this book is not for everyone. There are those who will have romantic notions, based on the horribly poor synopsis provided by the publisher: "Barcelona, 1945-just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face." What on earth is one to glean from that? It's at best misleading. This is NOT some sweet story about a boy who's lost his mother, can't remember her face and goes on some mission of discovery about her. Not one bit.

    Yes, the 10-year-old boy is being raised by his father, a young widower. To give his son comfort and a hobby to distract him from a lonely childhood, he introduces him to literature, taking him to a secret library where a secret society of bibliophiles maintains a stash of presumably banned books in order to protect them and to carry on the mission to promote reading and similar intellectual pursuits. The boy is allowed to pick one book, and he soon devours it. He's so enraptured, that he wants to read more from the author, but he learns that the author's other books have disappeared or have been destroyed. Of course, this makes him even more curious, and he embarks on an 8 year quest to find out more about his favorite author and what happened. That journey is the story. The memory of the mother is now gone, for the most part.

    Let me also note that I read the Spanish version and not the translation. Wherever possible, I try to read in the original language because I have found that translators yield to interpretation instead of translation. They will embellish or change something based on their understanding of what the author said or what they think that the author meant to say. In other words, they try to insinuate themselves as author, and I've read translations that come nowhere near what the author wrote. It's not a case of interpretation either; rather, they just get it completely wrong. So, if you can, read the original version in the original language - if for no other benefit than language practice.

    The bulk of the action happens right after the period of the Spanish Civil War and World War 2. Spain was not a peaceful or friendly place to be in spite of the end of both conflicts. Books would be banned and/or burned. The people lived in a state of terror, for secret police found all kinds of reasons for sequestering people, and many disappeared. There weren't what one would call civil rights, and human rights were something enjoyed in other countries. This is the period of Francisco Franco, and many people suffered as petty rivalries were settled based on who was in power at the time. Zafon is honest and in some points pretty graphic. Where he does not provide detail, it's easy to fill in the blanks. Some acts of cruelty are almost too much to believe, but they did occur.

    Just be ready. For some, it will be graphic. But that's stating the obvious. To read a Spanish work is akin to reading a vampire or mummy book. What? You didn't expect a little blood and gore? Has no one heard of Goya?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2004

    Vale la pena

    Bien escrito y un cuento interesante. Sus descripciones de Barcelona y sus personajes son realisitcos.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2004

    Opinion de un Lector

    Es poco lo que se dice del el libro, en las opiniones que lel nates de obtenerlo>ES un libro que te cautiva desde la primera pagina y te obliga a no soltarlo,inclusive a salir a trabajar con el tiempo justo para llegar a tiempo.Al final te deja colgado,sobre que paso con el rsto de los personajes,ya uqe te narra que paso con cada uno de ellos.Sin duda lo recomiendo

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2004

    Excelente

    Excelente, nada mas que decir. De principio a fin un relato cautivador, personajes que se sienten casi como si estuvieran presentes contigo y un desenlace muy bien elaborado y poco comun. Te hace querer llorar y reir en la misma pagina.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2014

    Amazing.....!Excellent......!Just enjoy it.....!

    Amazing.....!Excellent......!Just enjoy it.....!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Guide

    Cats go to results-- 2-7 Dogs go to results-- 8-14
    <br>My Cats will be result 3, My Dogs will be result 12
    <br>Rules-- Don't argue whine or pout. /
    <br>

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    This is one of those books that will keep you up all night until

    This is one of those books that will keep you up all night until you are done reading!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    Awesome novel

    This is a very well writen Novel. The use of language is smart, educated and funny which is not easy to achieve. The story is interesting and will keep you reading page after page

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    Genial!

    Simplemente genial!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Excelente

    Altamente recomendable!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Firtree

    Firtree nodded and padded out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Cherryhaert

    Gasps for breath and ran away.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    Sencillamente el libro es excelente, lo recomiendo ampliamente c

    Sencillamente el libro es excelente, lo recomiendo ampliamente como uno de los libros que no debes dejar de leer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Threshpaw

    Hawkeye

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Dkhg

    Ok shall i tell him?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Tigershadow

    When i said tigerpaw that was bcuz im used to rping apprentices and sure

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 94 Customer Reviews

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