Spain reading: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Hola! The Kitten is back from vacation, with much to report. We begin with the novel I read on the trip, of course!

The Shadow of the Wind is a fabulous read! Considering I got stricken for a day and a half with a severe travel bug, the novel was also a lifesaver. Diverted me from my illness.

I'm not much of a reviewer (I say, why not read the book?), but to sum up, this is a Gothic/mystery/love story all rolled up into one twisting, turning tale. The hero is Daniel Sempere, whom we meet as a young boy in post-Civil War Barcelona. His father introduces Daniel to a mysterious bookstore called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where the boy chooses a book called The Shadow of the Wind. Daniel loses himself in the novel and becomes caught up in learning more about its mysterious author, Julian Carax. Ruiz Zafon takes us through Daniel's intriguing journey and rites of passage.

If the plot doesn't grab you, first check your pulse for vital signs. Then simply enjoy the characters, which are some of the most memorable and vividly drawn that I've read in modern literature. Daniel is a sympathetic, intelligent and interesting hero to follow, and all sorts of interesting, shadowy and complex figures crop up throughout Daniel's adventure. Most interesting to me is Fermin Romero de Torres, who plays a sort of Pancho Villa. He's a brilliantly realized, unique character.

As an added bonus, the book included a walking tour of Barcelona!

Thanks to Stefanie for the reading suggestion! You don't have to go to Spain to enjoy this one...