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The Shadow Of The Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Series Book 1) par [Carlos Ruiz Zafon]
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The Shadow Of The Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Series Book 1) Format Kindle

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A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept. My first thought on waking was to tell my best friend about the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Tomás Aguilar was a classmate who devoted his free time and his talent to the invention of wonderfully ingenious contraptions of dubious practicality, like the aerostatic dart or the dynamo spinning top. I pictured us both, equipped with flashlights and compasses, uncovering the mysteries of those bibliographic catacombs. Who better than Tomás to share my secret? Then, remembering my promise, I decided that circumstances advised me to adopt what in detective novels is termed a different modus operandi. At noon I approached my father to quiz him about the book and about Julián Carax-both world famous, I assumed. My plan was to get my hands on his complete works and read them all by the end of the week. To my surprise, I discovered that my father, a natural-born librarian and a walking lexicon of publishers' catalogs and oddities, had never heard of The Shadow of the Wind or Julián Carax. Intrigued, he examined the printing history on the back of the title page for clues.

"It says here that this copy is part of an edition of twenty-five hundred printed in Barcelona by Cabestany Editores, in June 1936."

"Do you know the publishing house?"

"It closed down years ago. But, wait, this is not the original. The first edition came out in November 1935 but was printed in Paris....Published by Galiano & Neuval. Doesn't ring a bell."

"So is this a translation?"

"It doesn't say so. From what I can see, the text must be the original one."

"A book in Spanish, first published in France?"

"It's not that unusual, not in times like these," my father put in. "Perhaps Barceló can help us...."

Gustavo Barceló was an old colleague of my father's who now owned a cavernous establishment on Calle Fernando with a commanding position in the city's secondhand-book trade. Perpetually affixed to his mouth was an unlit pipe that impregnated his person with the aroma of a Persian market. He liked to describe himself as the last romantic, and he was not above claiming that a remote line in his ancestry led directly to Lord Byron himself. As if to prove this connection, Barceló fashioned his wardrobe in the style of a nineteenth-century dandy. His casual attire consisted of a cravat, white patent leather shoes, and a plain glass monocle that, according to malicious gossip, he did not remove even in the intimacy of the lavatory. Flights of fancy aside, the most significant relative in his lineage was his begetter, an industrialist who had become fabulously wealthy by questionable means at the end of the nineteenth century. According to my father, Gustavo Barceló was, technically speaking, loaded, and his palatial bookshop was more of a passion than a business. He loved books unreservedly, and-although he denied this categorically-if someone stepped into his bookshop and fell in love with a tome he could not afford, Barceló would lower its price, or even give it away, if he felt that the buyer was a serious reader and not an accidental browser. Barceló also boasted an elephantine memory allied to a pedantry that matched his demeanor and the sonority of his voice. If anyone knew about odd books, it was he. That afternoon, after closing the shop, my father suggested that we stroll along to the Els Quatre Gats, a café on Calle Montsió, where Barceló and his bibliophile knights of the round table gathered to discuss the finer points of decadent poets, dead languages, and neglected, moth-ridden masterpieces.

Els Quatre Gats was just a five-minute walk from our house and one of my favorite haunts. My parents had met there in 1932, and I attributed my one-way ticket into this world in part to the old café's charms. Stone dragons guarded a lamplit façade anchored in shadows. Inside, voices seemed shaded by the echoes of other times. Accountants, dreamers, and would-be geniuses shared tables with the specters of Pablo Picasso, Isaac Albéniz, Federico García Lorca, and Salvador Dalí. There any poor devil could pass for a historical figure for the price of a small coffee.

"Sempere, old man," proclaimed Barceló when he saw my father come in. "Hail the prodigal son. To what do we owe the honor?"

"You owe the honor to my son, Daniel, Don Gustavo. He's just made a discovery."

"Well, then, pray come and sit down with us, for we must celebrate this ephemeral event," he announced.

"Ephemeral?" I whispered to my father.

"Barceló can express himself only in frilly words," my father whispered back. "Don't say anything, or he'll get carried away."

The lesser members of the coterie made room for us in their circle, and Barceló, who enjoyed flaunting his generosity in public, insisted on treating us.

"How old is the lad?" inquired Barceló, inspecting me out of the corner of his eye.

"Almost eleven," I announced.

Barceló flashed a sly smile.

"In other words, ten. Don't add on any years, you rascal. Life will see to that without your help."

A few of his chums grumbled in assent. Barceló signaled to a waiter of such remarkable decrepitude that he looked as if he should be declared a national landmark.

"A cognac for my friend Sempere, from the good bottle, and a cinnamon milk shake for the young one-he's a growing boy. Ah, and bring us some bits of ham, but spare us the delicacies you brought us earlier, eh? If we fancy rubber, we'll call for Pirelli tires."

The waiter nodded and left, dragging his feet.

"I hate to bring up the subject," Barceló said, "but how can there be jobs? In this country nobody ever retires, not even after they're dead. Just look at El Cid. I tell you, we're a hopeless case."

He sucked on his cold pipe, eyes already scanning the book in my hands. Despite his pretentious façade and his verbosity, Barceló could smell good prey the way a wolf scents blood.

"Let me see," he said, feigning disinterest. "What have we here?"

I glanced at my father. He nodded approvingly. Without further ado, I handed Barceló the book. The bookseller greeted it with expert hands. His pianist's fingers quickly explored its texture, consistency, and condition. He located the page with the publication and printer's notices and studied it with Holmesian flair. The rest watched in silence, as if awaiting a miracle, or permission to breathe again.

"Carax. Interesting," he murmured in an inscrutable tone.

I held out my hand to recover the book. Barceló arched his eyebrows but gave it back with an icy smile.

"Where did you find it, young man?"

"It's a secret," I answered, knowing that my father would be smiling to himself. Barceló frowned and looked at my father. "Sempere, my dearest old friend, because it's you and because of the high esteem I hold you in, and in honor of the long and profound friendship that unites us like brothers, let's call it at forty duros, end of story."

"You'll have to discuss that with my son," my father pointed out. "The book is his."

Barceló granted me a wolfish smile. "What do you say, laddie? Forty duros isn't bad for a first sale....Sempere, this boy of yours will make a name for himself in the business."

The choir cheered his remark. Barceló gave me a triumphant look and pulled out his leather wallet. He ceremoniously counted out two hundred pesetas, which in those days was quite a fortune, and handed them to me. But I just shook my head. Barceló scowled.

"Dear boy, greed is most certainly an ugly, not to say mortal, sin. Be sensible. Call me crazy, but I'll raise that to sixty duros, and you can open a retirement fund. At your age you must start thinking of the future."

I shook my head again. Barceló shot a poisonous look at my father through his monocle.

"Don't look at me," said my father. "I'm only here as an escort."

Barceló sighed and peered at me closely.

"Let's see, junior. What is it you want?"

"What I want is to know who Julián Carax is and where I can find other books he's written."

Barceló chuckled and pocketed his wallet, reconsidering his adversary.

"Goodness, a scholar. Sempere, what do you feed the boy?"

The bookseller leaned toward me confidentially, and for a second I thought he betrayed a look of respect that had not been there a few moments earlier.

"We'll make a deal," he said. "Tomorrow, Sunday, in the afternoon, drop by the Ateneo library and ask for me. Bring your precious find with you so that I can examine it properly, and I'll tell you what I know about Julián Carax. Quid pro quo."

"Quid pro what?"

"Latin, young man. There's no such thing as dead languages, only dormant minds. Paraphrasing, it means that you can't get something for nothing, but since I like you, I'm going to do you a favor."

The man's oratory could kill flies in midair, but I suspected that if I wanted to find out anything about Julián Carax, I'd be well advised to stay on good terms with him. I proffered my most saintly smile in delight at his Latin outpourings.

"Remember, tomorrow, in the Ateneo," pronounced the bookseller. "But bring the book, or there's no deal."


Our conversation slowly merged into the murmuring of the other members of the coffee set. The discussion turned to some documents found in the basement of El Escorial that hinted at the possibility that Don Miguel de Cervantes had in fact been the nom de plume of a large, hairy lady of letters from Toledo. Barceló seemed distracted, not tempted to claim a share in the debate. He remained quiet, observing me from his fake monocle with a masked smile. Or perhaps he was only looking at the book I held in my hands.

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition kindle_edition.

From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com

Critics describing a new novel will sometimes resort to a particularly seductive formula: "If Judith Krantz had written Ulysses . . ." or "Half Georgette Heyer, half H.P. Lovecraft," or "If you enjoyed A Dog of Flanders, you'll just purr over The Cat's Pajamas." This is a seductive formula because it's easy to use (too easy, most of the time) and because it can quickly convey something of the range and complexity of a new book without going into a lot of detail.

But such shortcuts also remind us that novels, like most literature, build on earlier books as much as they do on life or on a writer's personal traumas. Indeed, one loose definition of modernism might be writing that is actually rewriting.

The Shadow of the Wind provokes such thoughts because it is a long novel that will remind readers of a good many other novels. This isn't meant as criticism but as an indication of the story's richness and architectonic intricacy. Before everything else, Carlos Ruiz Zafón's European bestseller is a book about a mysterious book, and its even more mysterious author. Try to imagine a blend of Grand Guignol thriller, historical fiction, occasional farce, existential mystery and passionate love story; then double it. If that's too hard to do, let me put it another way: If you love A.S. Byatt's Possession, García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, the short stories of Borges, Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, Arturo Pérez-Reverte's The Club Dumas or Paul Auster's "New York" trilogy, not to mention Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame and William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel, then you will love The Shadow of the Wind.

"I was raised among books," writes Daniel Sempere, "making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast from dust and whose smell I carry on my hands to this day." Young Daniel's father runs a used bookstore in Barcelona; his mother died when he was 4, and he misses her desperately. One afternoon in 1945 the older Sempere informs his not quite 11-year-old son that he is taking him to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. "You mustn't tell anyone what you're about to see today." They wander through narrow winding streets, then finally stop before "a large door of carved wood, blackened by time and humidity. Before us loomed what to my eyes seemed the carcass of a palace, a place of echoes and shadows." Inside "a labyrinth of passageways and crammed bookshelves rose from base to pinnacle like a beehive woven with tunnels, steps, platforms, and bridges that presaged an immense library of seemingly impossible geometry." Daniel's father tells him that "according to tradition, the first time someone visits this place, he must choose a book, whichever he wants, and adopt it, making sure that it will never disappear, that it will always stay alive." Daniel chooses -- or perhaps is chosen by -- "The Shadow of the Wind," by Julian Carax.

Daniel loses himself in the book -- we are never told too much about its gothic-thriller plot -- and soon asks for other works by Carax, who seems to have been a Spaniard living in Paris during the 1920s and '30s. He learns that his works are virtually impossible to find. Rumor has it that over the past 10 years or so a dark figure with a limp has bought up every Carax available, and that libraries and private collections have had their Carax titles stolen. It's hinted that all the copies -- never plentiful to begin with -- have been burnt and that the man with the limp goes by the name of Lain Coubert. Daniel knows this name. In "The Shadow of the Wind" it is the one used by the devil.

About this same time, our young bibliophile comes to know a well-to-do bookseller and his gorgeous blind niece, who dresses all in white. The boy takes to visiting Clara in the evenings to read to her, naturally falling in love with the young woman. Meanwhile, he keeps trying to find out more about Julian Carax. Time passes. Then, one night, the now adolescent Daniel is unable to sleep, and he looks out into the night. "A motionless figure stood out in a patch of shadow on the cobbled street. The flickering amber glow of a cigarette was reflected in his eyes. He wore dark clothes, with one hand buried in the pocket of his jacket, the other holding the cigarette that wove a web of blue smoke around his profile. He observed me silently, his face obscured by the street lighting behind him. He remained there for almost a minute smoking nonchalantly, his eyes fixed on mine. Then, when the cathedral bells struck midnight, the figure gave a faint nod of the head, followed, I sensed, by a smile that I could not see. I wanted to return the greeting but was paralyzed. The figure turned, and I saw the man walking away, with a slight limp."

This passage occurs on page 37, and the real story of The Shadow of the Wind has just begun.

Gradually, Daniel learns that Carax was born in Barcelona, the son of a beautiful French piano teacher and the owner of a local hat shop. It's said that someone other than Antoni Fortuny was Julian's actual father but that Sophie Carax, even when beaten and abused, would never reveal his identity. When Julian grew to adolescence, he joined a group of four other boys -- one later becoming a priest, another a cold-blooded government assassin, another the financier of his books. He also fell desperately in love with the fourth boy's sister, Penelope.

Meanwhile, the reader notices that Daniel himself -- now 18 or 19 -- is oddly replicating the life of Julian. As he delves into Carax's past, he meets people who casually mention that he looks a little like the novelist. Daniel eventually discovers that Carax fled Paris after a duel on the day he was to marry a wealthy and elderly woman. His body was found in an alley in Barcelona a month later, just as the Civil War broke out. Virtually all those who befriended Carax appear to have ended up impoverished, crazed or dead. The house of his beloved Penelope has been long abandoned and is said to be haunted.

As the reader tries to figure out the links between modern Spanish history, two passionate and forbidden love affairs and an enigmatic novelist, Carlos Ruiz Zafón periodically lessens the tension of his dark melodrama by introducing humorous interludes or eccentric secondary characters. The Semperes give work to a beggar who claims to have been a secret agent and many other things. Fermin is worldly, tough, shrewd, utterly loyal and bawdy:

"For the life of God, I hereby swear that I have never lain with an underage woman, and not for lack of inclination or opportunities. Bear in mind that what you see today is but a shadow of my former self, but there was a time when I cut as dashing a figure as they come. Yet even then, just to be on the safe side, or if I sensed that a girl might be overly flighty, I would not proceed without seeing some form of identification or, failing that, a written paternal authorization. One has to maintain certain moral standards."

Zafón -- at least in the fine English of Lucia Graves -- can also turn a witty phrase: Describing a learned priest, he writes, "Years of teaching had left him with that firm and didactic tone of someone used to being heard, but not certain of being listened to." Some of the wit -- or is it symbolism? -- can be subtle: When Fermin happens to mention the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on one page, on the next he is knocking over a set of the novels of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, whose best known book is the once wildly popular bestseller The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Not least, like his partial model Sancho Panza, Fermin also specializes in peasant wisdom:

"Look, Daniel. Destiny is usually around the corner. Like a thief, like a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it."

And so, in a sense, Daniel does go for it, plunging deeper and deeper into the enigma of Julian Carax and his accursed books, and along the way risking the lives and happiness of all those he loves. It grows ever more apparent that much that has seemed random or mad or unlucky -- the burning of Carax's novels, sudden disappearances, the blighting of so many lives -- may be part of a larger insidious plan, that there are wheels within wheels.

I'd like to say more about this superbly entertaining book but don't dare to hint any more about its plot twists. Suffice it to say that -- and here's yet another critical formula -- anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind. Really, you should.

Copyright 2004, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition kindle_edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B002U3CB5M
  • Éditeur ‏ : ‎ Weidenfeld & Nicolson (16 avril 2009)
  • Langue ‏ : ‎ Anglais
  • Taille du fichier ‏ : ‎ 2462 KB
  • Synthèse vocale ‏ : ‎ Activée
  • Lecteur d’écran  ‏ : ‎ Pris en charge
  • Confort de lecture ‏ : ‎ Activé
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Activé
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Activé
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée  ‏ : ‎ 506 pages
  • Commentaires client :
    4,5 sur 5 étoiles 6 241 évaluations

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Carlos Ruiz Zafón est l’un des auteurs les plus lus et appréciés dans le monde. Sa carrière commence en 1993 avec Le Prince du Brouillard (prix de la jeunesse d’Edebé), suivi du Palais de Minuit, Les Lumières de Septembre (réunis dans le volume La Trilogie du Brouillard, à paraître en France fin 2011 et début 2012), et Marina (Robert Laffont, 2010). En 2001, il publie son premier roman pour adultes, L’ombre du vent (Grasset, 2004), qui devient rapidement un phénomène littéraire international. Avec Le jeu de l’ange (Robert Laffont, 2008), il revient à l’univers du Cimetière des Livres Oubliés. Les livres de Carlos Ruiz Zafón ont été traduits dans plus de quarante langues et ont reçus de nombreux prix.

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