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The Shadow of the Wind

By Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Shadow of the Wind

Started reading:
28th November 2011
Finished reading:
28th July 2012

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Review & Quotes

Rating: Unrated

Assorted Quotes:

When a library disappears, or a bookshop closes down, when a book is consigned to oblivion, those of us who know this place, its guardians, make sure that it gets here. In this place, books no longer remembered by anyone, books that are lost in time, live forever, waiting for the day when they will reach a new reader’s hands. In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.

There’s no such thing as dead languages, only dormant minds.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn’t have to understand something to feel it. By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened, the wounds of the heart are already too deep.

I couldn’t help thinking that if I, by pure chance, had found a whole universe in a single unknown book, buried in that endless necropolis, tens of thousands more would remain unexplored, forgotten forever. I felt myself surrounded by millions of abandoned pages, by worlds and souls without an owner sinking in an ocean of darkness, while the world that throbbed outside the library seemed to be losing its memory, day after day, unknowingly, feeling all the wiser the more it forgot.

“Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not for the merits of who them,” said my father.

“Don’t you like the cinema, Fermín?” “Between you and me, this business of the seventh art leaves me cold. As far as I can see, it’s only a way of feeding the mindless and making them even more stupid. Worse than football or bullfights. The cinema began as an invention for entertaining the illiterate masses. Fifty years on, it’s much the same.”

“Not evil,” Fermín objected. “Moronic, which isn’t quite the same thing. Evil presupposes a moral decision, intention, and some forethought. A moron or a lout, however, doesn’t stop to think or reason. He acts on instinct, like a stable animal, convinced that he’s doing good, that he’s always right, and sanctimoniously proud to go around fucking up, if you’ll excuse the French, anyone he perceives to be different from himself, be it because of skin color, creed, language, nationality, or, as in the case of Don Federico, his leisure habits. What the world needs is more thoroughly evil people and fewer borderline pigheads.”

The words with which a child’s heart is poisoned, through malice or through ignorance, remain branded in his memory, and sooner or later they burn his soul.”

Womankind is an indecipherable maze.

Money is like any other virus: once it has rotted the soul of the person who houses it, it sets off in search of new blood.

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you,”

Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, 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.”

Wars have no memory, and nobody has the courage to understand them until there are no voices left to tell what happened, until the moment comes when we no longer recognize them and they return, with another face and another name, to devour what they left behind.
Julián had once told me that a story is a letter the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.

Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it’s an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.