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04 Aug 2015
Shadow of the Wind - If Gaston Leroux had been Spanish…

Shadow of the Wind - If Gaston Leroux had been Spanish…

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A love of history isn’t confined to the office at Historical Trips. It follows us home, and takes pride of place on our bookshelves. Martin Adams is our Customer Care Executive in the US and shared his thoughts on one of his favourite historic novels with us;

Shadow of the Wind - If Gaston Leroux had been Spanish…

“I was dragged kicking and screaming into Spanish history during my first year at university… but the combination of a good lecturer and this novel sparked a fascination with modern Spanish history and a love affair with Barcelona.

The novel begins with young Daniel Sempere’s induction at the (sadly) fictional Cemetery of Forgotten Books by his father, where he picks out the novel “The Shadow of The Wind” by a writer called Julian Carax. Daniel becomes obsessed with the author and his search for more of his books leads him to cross paths with a man who is trying to eradicate all trace of Carax’s past by burning every last one of his works…

The novel flits between Daniel’s investigations in Post-Civil War Barcelona and the events of Carax’s life, set some 15 years before the Civil War. The tale is told in the style of a 1920s melodrama: villainy vs virtue, doomed love, concealed identities and the grotesque – both physical and within the deeper, darker recesses of human nature. The Spanish Civil War remains the backdrop against which the entire novel is set and the vehicle to move the plot onwards. The evils of the Civil War are personified by the main antagonist and psychotic double, triple, quadruple agent, Inspector Fumero.

Zafón’s Barcelona is one of a subjugated but cheerfully defiant community - despite the social hardships that fascism brought to regions of Spain like Catalunya. His mastery of the geography and the people of the city brings Barcelona’s past to life but depicts an equally true image of Barcelona today. From the mansions of Pedralbes to the back streets winding their way to the beautiful church of Santa Maria del Mar, Barcelona was and is a fascinating, bustling and ever-evolving city. For me, the author’s biggest success is his ability to capture it on the page.”

Our Spanish Civil War tour - Brothers in Arms - departs this autumn. Why not join us and delve deeper into Spanish history. Led by the excellent Jason Webster, the surprisingly dark and lesser known aspects of modern European History will unfold before your very eyes… Click here to find out more.