Dear Great Book Guru, I was on a wonderful family vacation in Spain last week- we visited Granada, Madrid, and Barcelona. Now I would like to read some fiction with a Barcelona setting so that I can prolong the experience. Any suggestions? Basking in Barcelona Glow
Dear Basking, I read a fascinating book set in 1950’s Barcelona- THE SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Ruiz Zafron – this novel has been a bestseller in Spain for many years and was recently translated into English. Some critics have compared it to works by Dickens, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Stephen King, and Jorge Luis Borges and it does indeed contain elements of all these. Young Daniel Sempere is the ten- year- old son of a widowed book seller. His father as a birthday treat brings him to the Cemetery of Dead Books – a used bookstore- where he instructs him to pick one book as a gift; legend holds that book will decide his destiny. Daniel chooses “The Shadow of the Wind” by a little known author Julian Carax and indeed, this choice determines his life’s course. We follow Daniel as he matures, falls in love, and meets a colorful array of characters, while his fortunes ebb and flow in a truly Dickensian manner. There is magic, there is bawdy humor, there is mystery- all spread over 500 pages, but so beautifully written that the reader yearns for more. Recommended!