Ruiz Zafón, Carlos 1964–
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos 1964–
(Carlos Ruiz Zafón)
PERSONAL: Born September 25, 1964, in Barcelona, Spain.
La sombra del viento, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 2001, translation by Lucia Graves published as The Shadow of the Wind, Penguin Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Also author of four books for young adults.
SIDELIGHTS: Born and raised in Barcelona, Spain, author Carlos Ruiz Zafón lives and works in Los Angeles, California, where he moved in his late twenties to work as a screenwriter. His first novel, The Shadow of the Wind, is the result of a decision to write a book set in his homeland. Although Ruiz Zafón reads extensively in English and has a particular affection for nineteenth-century English-language novelists, he wrote The Shadow of the Wind in Spanish. The book was first published in Spain, where it spent months on the best-seller lists, promoted primarily by word of mouth through the enthusiasm of booksellers.
Set in Barcelona in 1945, The Shadow of the Wind tells the story of a young boy named Daniel whose father, an antiquarian book dealer, takes him to a rare book depository, where he is allowed to choose one book to preserve. Daniel becomes obsessed with the life of his book's author, Julian Carax, and his investigation into Carax's life and death leads him on a journey of dangerous twists and turns. In a review for the Chicago Tribune, Sandy Bauers remarked that "this novel has it all: seduction, danger, revenge, and a mystery that the author teases out with mastery. Zafón has outdone even the mighty Charles Dickens." New York Times Book Review contributor Richard Eder remarked that Ruiz Zafón's work resembles a situation in which "Gabriel García Màrquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges for a sprawling magic show, exasperatingly tricky and mostly wonderful." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly stated that the author's reading habits affect the book negatively in that "the colorful cast of characters, the gothic turns and the straining for effect only give the book the feel of para-literature or the Hollywood version of a great nineteenth-century novel." Other critics praised the author's lush, detailed style, Michael Dirda remarking in the Washington Post that "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."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2004, Keir Graff, review of The Shadow of the Wind, p. 102.
Bookseller, January 2, 2004, Benedicte Page, "Barcelona Gothic: Carlos Ruiz Zafón Has Become a Spanish Literary Sensation after the Release of His First Book for Adults," p. 24.
Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2004, Sandy Bauers, "'Shadow' Reveals a Novel Idea for a Novel," p. 7.
Economist, April 3, 2004, "Come the Catalan," p. 96.
Entertainment Weekly, April 16, 2004, Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, review of The Shadow of the Wind, p. 81.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004, review of The Shadow of the Wind, p. 200.
Library Journal, February 1, 2004, Lawrence Olszewski, review of The Shadow of the Wind, p. 126.
New York Times Book Review, April 25, 2004, Richard Eder, "In the Cemetery of Forgotten Books," p. 6.
Publishers Weekly, September 23, 2002, John F. Baker, "Short Takes," p. 13; February 16, 2004, review of The Shadow of the Wind, p. 148.
Washington Post, April 25, 2004, Michael Dirda, "The Boy's Obsession with the Work of an Obscure Author Leads to Mysteries within Mysteries," p. T15.
Lyrik and Prosa Web site, http://www.lyrikwelt.de/ (July 26, 2004), "Zafón, Carlos Ruiz."