Saturday, December 22, 2007

92. "The Shadow of the Wind" - Carlos Ruiz Zapon


One of my graduate students spoke of his dislike of the technique used by novelists and screenwriters where the huge surprise is saved for the last five minutes. He preferred knowing the end in advance.

While we debated the merits of this, I never considered how knowing a false ending could infuriate me. Thank you, The Shadow of the Wind, for showing me how *not* to foreshadow.

Written like an old-fashioned whodunit with a splash of Stephen King-esque male-based slapstick, this novel aims to create a literary mystery set in post-war Spain. The narrator, Daniel, is a book-lover who falls in love with an author named Julian Carax. Strangely, someone is tracking down all of Carax's novels and burning them.

This could be a rally cry for the book lover, but it falls short, landing in ashes instead of smoldering coals. It did get a rave review from Stephen King (but, as I said, it is very similar to the maestro's work).

2.0 out of 5.0 Spanish Town Cocktails.

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