A piece of solid literature that at times felt like a fairy tale.
Daniel, the main character, is taken to the Cemetary of Forgotten Books in old Barcelona by his father to adopt and take care of a book that the world's forgotten about. Amongst the thousands, perhaps millions of books, he manages to select a especially precious book, apparantly not quite forgotten, The Shadow of the Wind
. The day after he's picked up the book he gets a generous offer from a book collector, which he declines, but which leads him to the first thread of information about this mysterious author, Julián Carax. It is quickly discovered that Carax' books are extremely rare, amongst others because someone who has assumed the name of one of the characters from the book has been stealing and burning almost all copies of the author's books. The other reason would be that some of the last copies have been hidden in this Cemetary of Forgotten Books, which without any sort of library catalog is also not very benefical to the accessability of the book to the public.
The haunted house, the gruesome history of the mysterious Carax and the parallels between Daniel and Juliàns life (which Daniel seems oblivious to) give the story a gothic and fairy tale feel, but in the end all the strands of all the different characters come together in a single knot. Besides perhaps the parallel between Daniel and Juliáns lives. Perhaps that last bit is not meant to be 'solved' but to be more of a statement, especially when these two quotes are in the same book:A story is a letter the author writes to himself to tell himself things he would be unable to discover otherwise.
The art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.
A story about life in old Barcelona, love between young people, love between old people, life stories/books.
Just one nitpicky thing, possibly translation related: what's with all the muttering?!