The Shadow of the Wind in Barcelona – a literary journey – part one

The Shadow of the Wind
The Shadow of the Wind

Barcelona with its gothic streets, and the many hidden corners and shadowy arch ways are characters and moods of The Shadow of the Wind. An old forgotten book, relegated to the dusty shelves of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books…….

The book, written by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon is one of my all time favourite Spanish novels. …..

MAP

Calle Santa Ana The journey starts at the bookshop on Calle Santa Ana Plaza real,  Daniel meets Clara here. He also comes across Fermin Romero de Torres. Calle Arco del Teatro Is this where the Cemetery of Books is hidden? Calle Ferran  The area in the Gothic Quarter where Daniel first saw that pen in the shop window. Iglesia Santa del Mar  In the book it’s the Santa Lucia Hospice where Daniel and Fermin hear the tale of Penelope and Julian from Penelope’s old nurse Jacinta Coronada. El Quatre Gats  where Daniel and Fermin spend a lot of their time
Calle Santa Ana
The journey starts at the bookshop on Calle Santa Ana
Plaza real,
Daniel meets Clara here. He also comes across Fermin Romero de Torres.
Calle Arco del Teatro
Is this where the Cemetery of Books is hidden?
Calle Ferran
The area in the Gothic Quarter where Daniel first saw that pen in the shop window.
Iglesia Santa del Mar
In the book it’s the Santa Lucia Hospice where Daniel and Fermin hear the tale of Penelope and Julian from Penelope’s old nurse Jacinta Coronada.
El Quatre Gats
where Daniel and Fermin spend a lot of their time

Daniel, who lives with his father above a book shop in Barcelona, first learns of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books as a ten year old. He is told by his father that he can choose one book from the dusty shelves. He chooses ‘ The Shadow of the Wind’ by Julian Carax. But he is not the only one to find the book interesting – as he grows up, he soon discovers that a lot of people want to know about this book and are in a hurry to do so. Daniel realises he has to find out about the life and death of Julian Carax and to try and save those he left behind…

The journey starts at the bookshop on Calle Santa Ana:

Calle Santa Ana
Calle Santa Ana

A beautifully mysterious and shadowy street  in the gothic quarter that leads on to La Rambla and the main tourist areas. However, this fact has not spoilt the eerie atmosphere you feel walking down Calle Santa Ana as I passed the people I imagined Daniel would have done as he wandered to and from the bookstore. I could clearly hear the voices from the Shadow of the Wind, whispering and singing as I walked down and looked around for the first stop on my literary journey…I was about to wander in Daniel’s footsteps but am sure I felt a whisper beside me and a presence as I did so. I hoped it was Daniel walking with me… showing me around his world..

Did Daniel live right here?
Did Daniel live right here?

Daniel lived with his father up above and he would sit here dreaming of his books and of Clara. And wondering about the mysterious author Carax whose book he found.

Speaking of Clara – wandering off the Plaza real, I visited the apartment where Daniel met her. Where he saw her there and his world was shattered, and where he first comes across Fermin Romero de Torres. The arches and the palm trees providing a nice dance of shadows on each of the windows. The square has a unique atmosphere – you feel it has so many secrets and stories to tell amongst its arches and hidden corners. I was back that night – the darkness added more depth and mystery and I saw Daniel’s feelings for Clara and his fright at his meeting with Fermin even more profound.

Clara's appartment and where Daniel meets Fermin amongst the shadowy arches
Clara’s appartment and where Daniel meets Fermin amongst the shadowy arches

Last stop on the first part of the tour was the cemetery of books itself. The arch leading to Calle Arco del Teatro was unwelcoming and dark but I wandered down it and found a myriad of surprising characters hanging around the streets – I imagined not unlike those that Daniel may have wanted to avoid. I sensed the heavy doors hiding secret tomes and histories behind them. I smelt the old damp streets and the dust of the walls soon covered my shoes. It was as if I had literally walked into the novel for there were no tourists here. Just some figure– not unlike Lain Coubert himself.

Calle Arco Del Teatro - 'more than a scar than a street'
Calle Arco Del Teatro – ‘more than a scar than a street’

There were no passers-by in this alley – I could only hear the voices of those in nearby streets. It was as if Barcelona, in this alley way at least, was muffled and forgotten. It was hard to identify the place where the cemetery of books was hidden as all doorways or memories of them were akin to faceless and unmarked gravestones. An ideal place for a cemetery of books.

Was this once the Cemetery of Books? I rather hope it still is.....
Was this once the Cemetery of Books? I rather hope it still is…..

I didn’t stay long – I felt someone was watching me and so I hurried along, my face hidden in my scarf not only to keep the dust off my face but to keep this scar of Barcelona from my mind. But the Cemetery of Books had left its mark and my literary journey was far from over….

9 thoughts on “The Shadow of the Wind in Barcelona – a literary journey – part one

  1. Wow, it must be so exciting to see the places where these stories took place, I get that feeling in London sometimes when I come across a familiar street name in a book but I never really thought about going out and hunting them down.

    I tried reading Shadow of the Wind years ago and just couldn’t get into it even though it sounds like my ideal kind of story. You’ve made me think that maybe I should try it again…

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to say how I inspired you to reread the book. That really means a lot. I get so much pleasure out of seeing places with fresh eyes and finding new books where I travel. I’m off to London soon on a trail…

      1. Oooh what are you coming to London to follow? The best thing about reading Emma by Jane Austen is that it gave me such a different view of London – they talked about the “village of Islington” which is now very much inner city and one of the squares where someone lived is now where I work and not at all residential!

      2. Ooh I hadn’t thought of that! Jane Austen’s London must have been so different obviously. How interesting to practically work in a Jane Austen novel like you do! That’s fab! I’ve got three books in mind – and a fourth I’ll be reading on the train so might do a mix. It’s more interesting than the shops that’s for sure!

      3. I was surprised by how different, she was only writing 200 years ago, but I suppose that’s a long time given what happened in those 200 years!

        That sounds great and definitely better than shopping – Oxford Street? Ugh!

  2. Sangita

    I have not read the book but this was such a lovely view. Been yo barclona and wish your post had vome a year early. Thrn wld have readthe book nd followed your footsteps.

    1. Thanks for your comments Sangita. Barcelona is worth visiting for so many reasons but with the Shadow of the Wind, there is so much hidden in the book that reveals itself in reality! Hope you get to go back.

  3. FIrst of all, I’d like to tell you about my experience with The Shadow of the Wind. I came to Florida last summer to help out with my boyfriend’s grandparents. Across the street from their home was a tiny little secondhand store. While skimming their book section (as tiny as it was) I came across Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s novel. The cover intrigued me so I picked it up. While reading it I kept thinking, “Oh my gosh, what if it was fate that led me to this book!” Reading it was a surreal experience, heh.

    Anyway, I saw this post and thought that it would be appropriate to nominate you for the Liebster Award because I felt drawn to your blog. It’s fantastic by the way. 🙂 So the rules and questions are here: http://joybernardo.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/242/

    *hugs*
    Joy

    1. Thank you soooo much! What a lovely thing to do and you’ve really made me smile. Its lovely for you and other people to read and like what I do = I simply love to do it and it’s a nice feeling I’m doing something people enjoy. Ooh I will take my time and answer those questions carefully! Thanks again Joy!

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