“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
“Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.”
“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.”
“The moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you’ve already stopped loving that person forever.”
“Memories are worse than bullets.”
“Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them.”
“Sometimes we think people are like lottery tickets, that they’re there to make our most absurd dreams come true.”
“I was raised among books, making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast from dust and whose smell I carry on my hands to this day.”
“Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don’t stop at your station.”
“One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn’t have to understand something to feel it. By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened, the wounds of the heart are already too deep.”
“The nurse knew that those who really love, love in silence, with deeds and not with words.”
“Perhaps for that very reason, I adored her all the more, because of the eternal human stupidity of pursuing those who hurt us the most.”
“One loves truly only once in a lifetime, Julian, even if one isn’t aware of it.”
“Wars have no memory, and nobody has the courage to understand them until there are no voices left to tell what happened,”
“Few things are more deceptive than memories.”
As all the quotes show, this is such a highly quotable book. The prose is spectacular and it is nice to run across a nugget of inspiration every few pages while reading this book. The translator, Lucia Graves, put this into English really well to bring out all these great quotable moments. Reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon at first was a bit confusing. It seemed, at first, that the story wanted to be all things. It wanted to be a historical fiction, a mystical book story, a mystery, a romance, a family drama, and a gothic. That took me about half the book to get used to. I didn’t know really what genre to hang my hat on, how to approach the story to get the most out of it. Once I decided that what Ruis Zafon was telling me, was a remembrance mystery, it all fell into place. It also wasn’t until Daniel and Bea started their romance and Fermin and Daniel became close friends that I connected with the characters and the story. Finally, there were relationships in the story that I could follow and love.
There are times when I thought that the author went off on a tangent and needed to reel it back in to the main story during the first 200 pages or so. This only added to my confusion about what type of story it really was. Once I got to Nuria’s account of what actually happened in the past is when I was totally engrossed. That section of the book was the best-written section when it came to telling an actual narrative. The reveals hit hard and I was really happy I wasn’t trying to figure things out about the mystery until then.
I definitely waited until some of the hype of this was gone in my mind before reading and I think that helped a lot. I remember a few years ago everyone on booktube seemed to be reading this and I’m glad I put it off. I think if I went into this expecting a story about a mystical bookshop and book, I would have been sorely underwhelmed. Going into it with a more literature focus really helped me. Also going into this story rather blindly really helped me not to be spoiled with the reveals. I think if I would have read this right after I saw all the reviews and it was fresh in my mind, I would have figured it out easily.
Good book, well written, a slightly jumbled first half, extremely strong second half that has great quotes and ideas on first love. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes historical fiction, especially 20th-century historical European fiction. I wouldn’t recommend this to people looking for anything fantastical or doesn’t like stories about young men falling in love.