Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shadow of the Wind (Revisited)

MacEvoy just posted an offensively ridiculous piece on Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind. Such absurdity has no place on this sophisticated site. Just look at this comment left by a squirrelly gentlemen in Eastern Spain named “Anonymous:”
Reading your comment made me think you're try to hard to be smart you prove what a big idiot you are. I am sorry, dude, but one must be really dumb to read that novel and come out the other end with what you just wrote here. Sad.
Perhaps. But perhaps not. In truth, MacEvoy’s post had some good points. I normally would respond in the comments section, but this book is too relevant for me to withstand posting myself.

I first read The Shadow of the Wind not long after it came out in the US in 2001, and have read it again since. Here is what I know about the novel:
  • I liked it. It entertained me. It was a nice story. It was a nice idea.
  • The story is set in Barcelona, which is a city that really burns me up. I’ll read anything that is set in that metropolitan masterpiece.
  • The novel was a European hit, which intrigued me.
  • The novel is too light to be considered ‘great’ literature, because it doesn’t stick with you. It’s in one end and out the other. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t taste good.
Here is what I don’t know:
  • How the novel will stand the test of time.
Having said that, I am convinced that I am the only person in the world who also read Ruiz Zafon’s subsequent novel, The Angel’s Game. It was OK. Just OK. But if you didn’t like The Shadow of the Wind, you definitely won’t like his later work. Too many turns. Too many creative conveniences. Too much trite dialogue.
But let me add 2 more things to the list of things I do know:
  • Carlos Riuz Zafon has a new novel coming out next summer entitled The Prisoner of Heaven, and supposedly the story commences one year after the story of The Shadow of the Wind left off.
  • Yes, I will read this new book.
[Note: If you you want to read the quintessential Barcelona novel, look for Juan Marse's El Amante Bilingue. Unfortunately, as far as I know, it hasn't been published in English. But it's an unforgettable novel. One of the best.]

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't find a translation of Marse's novel, but apparently there's a Spanish film adaptation with English subtitles.

    I'm sure that's just as good. :)