Last night we met to talk about The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This is a long and dense novel, written in a very flowery, old-fashioned style (I'm assuming that the translator was true to the original in this respect). Here's the description from Amazon:
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets—an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
The feel of postwar Spain is convincingly conveyed, and the characters are very real and very interesting. The plot takes a million little twists and turns, which made me want to keep reading despite the fact that I found it to be really too long and drawn out and just plain "overwritten." It reminded me a lot of The Name of the Rose, with its many mysterious characters and seemingly supernatural events and intricate plot, but it wasn't as much work to get through.
I did end up liking this book, but I don't know exactly what type of reader I'd recommend it to—it's too florid and romantic for someone who likes their mysteries on the gritty side, yet there is enough eerie and violent content to turn off anyone who's looking for a light escape. If you've read it, what did you think?
Also: We haven't yet picked a book for next month's meeting—got any suggestions for us?