THE SHADOW OF THE WIND
Barcelona, 1945—A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called The Shadow of the Wind, by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax’s other books,
Barcelona, 1945—A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called The Shadow of the Wind, by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax’s other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that The Shadow of the Wind is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author’s identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret.
“If you thought the true gothic novel died with the nineteenth century, this will change your mind. . . . This is one gorgeous read.” —Stephen King
“Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out . . . and pick up The Shadow of the Wind.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
Julián Carax’s and Daniel’s lives follow very similar trajectories. Yet one ends in tragedy, the other in happiness. What similarities are there between the paths they take? What are the differences that allow Daniel to avoid tragedy?
Nuria Monfort tells Daniel, “Julián once wrote that coincidences are the scars of fate. There are no coincidences, Daniel. We are the puppets of our unconscious.” What does that mean? What does she refer to in her own experience and in Julián’s life?
Nuria Monfort’s dying words, meant for Julián,
There are many devil figures in the story—Carax’s Laín Coubert, Jacinta’s Zacarias, Fermín’s Fumero. How does evil manifest itself in each devil figure? What are the characteristics of the villains/devils?
What is “The Shadow of the Wind”? Where does Zafón refer to it and what does he use the image to illustrate?
Zafón’s female characters are often enigmatic, otherworldly angels full of power and mystery. Do you think Zafón paints his female characters differently than his male characters? What do the women represent in Daniel’s life? What might the Freud loving Miquel Moliner say about Daniel’s realationships with women?
Daniel says of The Shadow of the Wind, “As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable ever-smaller dolls within.” Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind unfolds much the same way, with many characters contributing fragments of their own stories in the first person point of view. What does Zafon illustrate with this method of storytelling? What doe the indivdual mini-autobiographies contribute to the tale?
The evil Fumero is the only son of a ridiculed father and a superficial, status-seeking mother. The troubled Julián is the bastard son of a love-starved musical mother and an amorous, amoral businessman, though he was raised by a cuckolded hatmaker. Do you think their personalities are products of nature or nuture? How are the sins of the fathers and mothers visited upon each of the characters?