Skip to main content

LITERATURE: Mondays Book Talk

Post 179. Written by Ben Kesp 



The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I was given The Shadow of the Wind as a gift and I eagerly dived into its pages to discover 1940s Barcelona and the mystery behind the disappearance of all, except one book belonging to author Julian Carax. Carlos Zafón’s artistic style of writing is poetically beautiful and the silken words flow effortlessly over the pages. 



Ten year old Daniel Sempere selects a book from the Cemetery of Lost Books, a haven for lost and out of print books, but what he does not realise at the time is the book titled The Shadow of the Wind, is the last book left by its author Julian Carax. The book captures Daniel’s curiosity and shortly after, he discovers a man by the name of Laín Coubert, who wishes to destroy the book. Over the next ten years, Daniel begins an investigation to discover what happened to the unheard of author Julian Carax and who is the strange man with the disfigured face that wishes to destroy all of the author’s novels? Daniel does his best to protect the final book by replacing it within the walls of the Cemetery of Lost Books. 

On his journey to uncovering the truth, Daniel discovers love, and despite being a very awkward and shy teenager, he fights for what he believes in and punches above his weight to get the girl of his dreams, although he is unsure what he will do once she notices him. Partly the story can be seen as a coming of age for Daniel. 

Zafón creates two worlds, almost duality between the life of Daniel and his love for Beatriz and Julian Carax and his love Penelope. Daniel retraces the steps of the younger Julian in his pursuit of love while simultaneously investigating Julian’s life. Through his innocence Daniel unknowingly opens up a tangled web of hidden secrets and a long list of characters involved in what happened to the mysterious author Julian Carax that transcends time into Daniel’s world endangering his own life. All the connected web of characters, each different with their own pronounced characteristics and backgrounds makes for a complex but interesting read. 

I was not disappointed with this epic and detailed story full of colourful characters nor with the beautiful artistic style of writing, creating vivid, yet hauntingly dark and at times dreary scenes of Barcelona. Zafón depicts dark streets, damp and dark apartments and heavy cold rains that always seemed to follow Daniel like the dark memory he had set free unknowingly. However one minor let down was that much of the answers to the mystery contained within the story unfolded through narrative. Following the murder of Nuria, the estranged daughter of the keeper of the Cemetery of Lost Books, Daniel receives a very long letter which reveals everything. This changes the tone of the book revealing much of the mystery, however central to connecting all of the points together. The ending is not left without its mystery and tension, keeping the attention of the reader, eager to how it will turn out for Daniel and Beatriz. 

The Shadow of the Wind is an epic story, driven my numerous characters, each with their own part to play and is filled with wonderful quotes. Certainly a great story and a recommended read. 

##

If you have a book you wish to write a post on, please complete the Contact Form and have it featured online. Thank you. 

Discover more on Ben Kesp, author and writer on the Ben Kesp Website.

Discover how to Contribute on the Ben Kesp Website.

Popular posts from this blog

HIST & MYTH: Strongbow & Aoife – Ireland’s Power Couple of the 12th Century

Post 221. Written by Ben Kesp.


The union of marriage between Aoife, Lady of Leinster, Ireland and Richard de Clare, nicknamed Strongbow, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Wales would change Ireland like never before and its ruling class along with it. 


Aoife, born April 26th, 1143, was the daughter of King Dermot MacMurrough (Diarmait Mac Murchada) of the Kingdom of Leinster and his wife Mor O’Toole, Queen Consort of Leinster. Aoife who later became more known as Eva of Leinster and on her marriage became the Countess of Pembroke, agreed to the marriage as she did have the right to refuse under Brehon Law (Early Irish Law). On the 29th of October 1170, Aoife and Strongbow were married at Christchurch Cathedral in Waterford City
Following the death of King Dermot in 1171, under Anglo-Norman law, Strongbow had succession rights to the Kingdom of Leinster, whereas Aoife had a life interest under Brehon law. Strongbow claimed the right to the Kingdom in his wife’s name ensuring his position as Lord o…

HIST & MYTH: Tlachtga and Samhain

Post 242 Written by Ben Kesp 

The end of another seasonal cycle is fast approaching and we are all getting ready to celebrate the ancient festival of Samhain. There is no other place in Ireland or the world more associated to the festival of Samhain than at Tlachtga or the “Hill of the Ward”, located near Athboy in Co. Meath, Ireland, twelve miles from the Hill of Tara. This is an ancient archaeological site which saw a big excavation dig in the summer of 2014 and like Tara the earthen works are most impressive by air. 
It was on this hill over two thousand years ago that saw the birth of Samhain which would later become better known as Halloween. In Irish Mythology, Tlachtga is the daughter of Mud Ruith a powerful druid and sun god. He is a figure of immense power and could grow to great sizes and his breath could turn people to stone! Not someone you would want to cross! According to myth and the tales that are retold, Tlachtga travelled with her father Mug Ruith to Italy to study un…

HIST & MYTH: The Dagda - Father God Figure

Post 227. Written by Ben Kesp. 

Of all the Irish deities making up the pantheon of gods, the Dagda is seen as the most powerful and omnicompetent, unlike his counterparts who are often limited in their abilities.
What I found interesting on my research of the Dagda is his role when it came to the introduction of Christianity. Ireland’s culture and belief systems have been very insular due to its isolation from mainland Europe and its strong ties with its former pagan culture. The development of the Irish church intertwined and fused the old pagan beliefs into the new religion with many crossovers with the gods of old. It appears to have been easier to Christianise and bestow saint hood on former gods than to have them removed altogether. All of the old pagan customs and rituals were based on earth’s seasonal cycles of the year and each is attributed to a related god, so as the seasons impacted the people, so did the god. 
The pagan Irish gods of old came from the “Otherworld” however w…

HIST & MYTH: Tuatha Dé Danann - A Family Tree

Written by Ben Kesp  Following on from my post on theIrish deities and mythological races of Ireland, I am trying my hand at compiling the family tree of the Tuatha Dé Danann.Not an easy task I will add due to the contradictory nature of Irish Mythology.Goddess Danu is seen as the mother of the Danann and Dagda or the Great Dagda is seen as the father of the Gods.It is unclear if Dagda is the son or the husband of Danu as different sources position him in both places.
There are five brothers: (Dagda, Dian Cécht, Lir, Nuada and Ogma). 
vDagda (God of Earth) (Father of the Gods) (King of Ireland)(Or Eochaid Garb) oHusband to Danu with children:      §Bridgit (Goddess of Poetry, Arts & Crafts) (Arrival of Spring - Imbolc) ·Wife to Bres (God of Agriculture) with child:   oRúadan §Bodh Derg (King of Tuatha Dé Danann when they and moved to the Sídhe) §Néith (God of War) ·Husband to Badb? (Daughter of Goddess Ernmas) §Midir ·Husband to Fúmnach ·Husband to Étaín (The Wooing of Étaín) §Áine §Cermait…