Log entry #1
“I don’t know how to describe this feeling. I am astonished, amazed, sad, happy and bewildered all at the same time. My eyes are giving up for I have been up all night. It is six a.m. I am dozing off but something is keeping me awake, my eyes might close, my mind may want to take a rest and sleep over it but I will not falter and fall asleep; no matter how much fairy godmother want me to sleep and no matter the quantity of fairy dust she throws in my eyes I will not fall asleep……because I simply can’t.”
It starts with an obsession, or love, as I would like to put it. Love for books, love for something that is unreal as much as that imaginary friend of yours was; DON’T tell me you didn’t have one, I know you did. Daniel one day is taken to Cemetery of Forgotten Books by his father and is then given a choice, the hardest choice you could ever make, the choice to choose a single book, and single is a big word because he could not just make a pile and throw every book into his own bookshelf. Daniel had to choose one book that he will love and cherish for the rest of his life to come and a book speaks to him, a book named The Shadow of The Wind, Daniel picks it up and binge read the book in a day, the book was finished but little did he knew that this was just a beginning of something bigger, something that will take him and turn him into something different than what he had expected.
“Sometimes what matters isn’t what one gives but what one gives up.”
I went into the story with little to no idea whatsoever. I first thought of the story as a coming of age story about a boy who explores himself and what life is through the book, but then it turned into a thriller; a race to save what Daniel holds dear then it turned into a romantic story, then a tragedy and even horror. Everything was done so fluently that I did not even notice I was laughing but I felt heartbroken simultaneously. Reading through the story I started to feel that it was my own, not because the character was my reflection of adolescence age (it was not for the most part) but because the situations were those of similar to the ones we face and some of them we either already faced or some which are just awaiting us. It was so real that I lost track of time, I started at 2 a.m and now it’s almost morning, I didn’t know how time consumed me and I did not know what was happening around me. Was there an earthquake? Is it raining? Was I supposed to drink water? I was dehydrated by the time I realized that I have been reading for too long.
The Shadow of The Wind is a book that not only shows how characters and emotions drive a narrative but how much effective it can be and for how long it can play with your emotions before ditching you into a pile of mud which you saw on your way to a farm, in which pigs spend their entire days swirling around but it is not disgusting, not for them, it is fun and that is the pile of mud I am talking about, a pile of mud which have its own joys.
“Mysteries must be solved, one must find out what they mean”
Mysteries are all around us, we find them in everyday life. You heard some noises from that house next door, was it a ghost? Poltergeist? What was that sound? That burbling of water in the middle of the night? Did you hear someone knock or was it just your imagination? An answer to these mysteries (or questions) is rather simple. The one who is knocking might be your friend, someone might be boiling water next door to make noodles because he is a hungry person (and who wouldn’t be when you’re writing about a book at four in the morning? Now, where is that Oreo that mom hid?)
These are easy mysteries with a logical explanation but imagine if there is a loud thud on your door at three in the morning, it might be a friend but what kind of friend would knock so loudly on the door as to almost barge in? Then you heard a voice say, “FBI, open up.” This most likely won’t happen unless you are a criminal but what if you haven’t done anything wrong? A Thousand thoughts will cram your mind, what did I do? Did I do something? I was just cooking noodles, is it a crime now? This is a rather big mystery because you cannot excerpt what is exactly that you did. That is the mystery of The Shadow of The Wind. You can only guess but you just might not know because of little it tells you (Unless you’re a wanted criminal, you will know who knocks at your door).
Log entry #2
I think I will hide under the sheets and pretend that I am shivering because of cold. It is fear that has frightened me. I can’t even….I can…..I………..
By the end, the book did not leave me emotionally devastated because of how perfect the ending was. I thought it would drag a bit at the end but Carlos Ruiz Zafon found a perfect way to close the book without making you feel the need to want more. You do not want a sequel to this book, you do not want an additional word added to that ending, you do not want to cry at the end, you are not left with a cliffhanger, but when the book ends, you slide your hand around the backbone of the book, admiring its build and slowly closing it revealing that back page, the one that has the synopsis, smiling to yourself because how little did it explain and how much did you experience. It is perfection; most of all, it is closure.
Briefly: I began with The Shadow of The Wind with little to no expectations. But it none the less took me on a journey that went beyond my imagination, characters were well developed, the story was focused which attained elements from all genres. Barcelona was portrayed with such confidence and ambiguity that I felt as I was present there myself. It was fiction but it felt as real as this keyboard with which I am typing now. It did not broke my heart by the end (it did it way before it ended) but it had something that a few books lack nowadays, closure, there was a proper sendoff to the world and to the characters, there was this mystery that felt like my own, it captured my imagination like that empty blue sky does when you’re stuck in a boring class. It showed the love for books that we bear and lengths we would go to to protect that love. It was fun, it was heartbreaking, it was scary, and I know, in my own life, I will be searching for The Shadow of The Wind.
“Few books leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, those echo of behind, accompany us through our lives and sculpt away into our memory to which, sooner or later no matter how many books we read, how many worlds’s we discover, how much we learn or forget – we return.”