THE SHADOW OF THE WIND

By CarlosRuiz Zafon Translated by: Lucia Graves
PenguinJanuary 2005
www.penguin.com

Trade Paperback512 pages, $16.00, ISBN: 9780143034902
Subject: Suspense / Thriller / Love / Books and Reading

  1. Julián Carax's and Daniel's lives follow very similar trajectories. Yet one ends in tragedy, the other in happiness. What similarities are there between the paths they take? What are the differences that allow Daniel to avoid tragedy?
  2. Nuria Monfort tells Daniel, "Julián once wrote that coincidences are the scars of fate. There are no coincidences, Daniel. We are the puppets of our unconscious." What does that mean? What does she refer to in her own experience and in Julián's life?
  3. Nuria Monfort's dying words, meant for Julián,
  4. There are many devil figures in the story—Carax's Laín Coubert, Jacinta's Zacarias, Fermín's Fumero. How does evil manifest itself in each devil figure? What are the characteristics of the villains/devils?
  5. What is "The Shadow of the Wind"? Where does Zafón refer to it and what does he use the image to illustrate?
  6. Zafón's female characters are often enigmatic, otherworldly angels full of power and mystery. Do you think Zafón paints his female characters differently than his male characters? What do the women represent in Daniel's life? What might the Freud loving Miquel Moliner say about Daniel's realationships with women?
  7. Daniel says of The Shadow of the Wind, "As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that con­tain innumerable ever-smaller dolls within." Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind unfolds much the same way, with many characters contributing fragments of their own stories in the first person point of view.  What does Zafon illustrate with this method of storytelling?  What doe the indivdual mini-autobiographies contribute to the tale?
  8. The evil Fumero is the only son of a ridiculed father and a superficial, status-seeking mother. The troubled Julián is the bastard son of a love-starved musical mother and an amorous, amoral businessman, though he was raised by a cuckolded hatmaker. Do you think their personalities are products of nature or nuture?  How are the sins of the fathers and mothers visited upon each of the characters?

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