The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

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MamaPata
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby MamaPata » Sun May 12, 2019 1:23 pm

Hi everyone.

What are people's suggestions for the June read? The deadline for suggestions is the 19th May. There will then be a week to vote.

Personally, I am going to suggest:

Les rivières pourpres, Jean-Christophe Grangé, French.
A French psychological crime thriller. Grangé's second book. Explores a set of murders in the Alps. Has been made into a film. 416 pages.

Aimez-vous Brahms?, Françoise Sagan, French
A short novel about relationships, typical of Sagan. Also made into a film. 189 pages.

The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum, American
Famous novel, has been translated into many languages. Assume you all know that there is a film version! (And sort of a musical) Personally, I will read the Soviet version. 249 pages.

A Country Doctor's Notebook, Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian
Short story collection, inspired by Bulgakov's experiences as a newly trained doctor 1916-1918. There is a 2008 Russian film version and a TV miniseries with John Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe. 160 pages.
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby rdearman » Sun May 12, 2019 2:48 pm

BLACK RUN
by Antonio Manzini
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby IronMike » Sun May 12, 2019 7:35 pm

I propose:

Ivo Andric The Bridge on the Drina. It is apparently available in dozens of languages. Andric won the Nobel for Literature in 1961.
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby MamaPata » Sun May 19, 2019 11:13 am

Any final suggestions before I make the poll this evening?
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby David27 » Mon May 20, 2019 3:09 am

I’m reading through la sombra del viento for the second time, and as I’m reading it I can see why there is potentially a high drop out rate early from the book, and why I remember loving the book when I read it before.

Early spoilers ahead, but nothing too major.

Daniel Sempere has lost his mother at a young age, and the first 100 pages is a slow charector development. He starts out with a strong bond with his father, which is strained by his immature love-obsession with Clara, which is intensified due to the loss of his mother, and replacing that void in his life. La Bernarda sees this and tries to help him through this, and discourage him from his relationship with Clara, but she i think knows he will have to learn the hard way, and supports him through it. His father feels betrayed on behalf of his mother, is upset that he is sacrificing his work/studies/friends for an unhealthy relationship, and directly reproaches Daniel... but you can’t tell an adolescent that his love is illogical and wrong...

This behavior by Daniel is annoying, and makes the intro slow, and reading from Daniel as the protagonist is difficult. But it is highly believable and Daniel and his father’s emotions and relationships feel real, it also slowly builds the bond and matures their relationship.

Within the first 100 pages, the inevitable happens and his relationship with Clara goes up in flames, but from here now the story can truly start to begin. Fermin de Torres is introduced, who is very likeable and central to the plot. Your 2 antagonists (who are good antagonists from a readers perspective) are also introduced: Lain Counert and inspector Fumero. Lain is a fictional charector from the book ‘the shadow of the wind’ that Daniel has, and has a burnt face and smells of burnt paper, and is obsessively seeking out all Carax books to burn them. Who would make himself a fictional charector and try to burn all traces of the books? It’s predictable who the culprit is, but the motive behind his work is the central mystery that Fermin and Daniel work together to try to piece together, and this is the central story that is fun and exciting, not simply a “who done it”. Fumero is a good antagonist who also is a bit of a mystery, what is his back story, why does he hate Fermin de Torres, and for that matter who truly is Fermin de Torre? But all of this doesn’t even start rolling until pages 100-150.

For re readers like myself, I think it is equally good the second time around now 7 or so years later. I forgot how slow it starts, but it rewards the patient with deeper charector development before it dives into its mystery suspense plot. If you stopped before page 100, and it’s because you dislike young adult fiction or mystery, or especially young adult mystery as a genre, then it’s not the book for you. But if you do like young adult novels, and just never got into it, I recommend giving it another shot. If you reach page 150 and aren’t sucked in, drop it for good. But if you quit before page 100, consider trying again because I don’t think you got to the story that made it such an international best-seller.

Between it and Metro-2033, I much prefer the shadow of the wind. Metro-2033’s appeal is its setting: sci fi post apocalyptic Moscow metro, but lacks the charector development and personality that is present in shadow of the wind. Metro also does a lot more telling the reader through dialogue, whereas Shadow slowly shows us who the charectors are for us to get to know them, and overall has (in my opinion) better writing.

Lastly I’ll say re reading it has been rewarding to me, because since the last time I read the shadow of the wind, I learned a lot about the Spanish civil war, and politics in general, that I didn’t appreciate on my first read through. The book does not directly address the Spanish Civil war, even though this time I’m realizing that is the central component to the book. This is very much a book all about Barcelona, but it’s setting in 1945 makes it a very different Barcelona then the bright, counter culture, student, party center that is stereotypical of the city today, rather it is a dark and oppressed Catalan capital newly overrun by the militar, with physical and metaphorical scars of the war everywhere. I haven’t fully delved into this in my mind, as you can get lost in the charectors and detective aspect, and push this backdrop to the back of your mind as you read it, but I think this too, has a lot to say about us (or me) as readers.

I have a lot of respect for Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and really enjoyed this book (obviously). Eventually I’ll pick up his other 2 books in this series. He is the most read Spanish author since Cervantes, and in time I think his writing will be associated strongly with Barcelona. I also respect him for refusing to let it turn into a television series or movie, which undoubtedly affected his overall sales and slowed his momentum, but he loves writing/reading as his medium. The book is a love story to literature, and his book reminds me of being a kid, and being able to pick up a book without analyzing it, and just loving the charectors as your friends and caring for them as Daniel does ‘the shadow of the wind’. Therefore it feels wrong to make a movie or TV series, even if it undoubtedly would make a lot of money, and should instead just stay in written format.

So for my June book club suggestion: give shadow of the wind another shot. I know a lot of people put it down in the first 100 pages, and maybe it’s just not the book for many of you (we all have different tastes, and that’s great!), but I’m sure some of you if you pick it up again and get into the meat of the story, will also love it.
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby Brun Ugle » Mon May 20, 2019 6:42 am

Thank you David 27. That was a brilliant review and described exactly how I feel about the book, and you did it much better than I could have done. I loved the book and was shocked that so many didn’t like it.
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby MamaPata » Mon May 20, 2019 7:08 am

Poll created, please vote!
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Mon May 20, 2019 8:37 pm

David27 wrote:I’m reading through la sombra del viento for the second time, and as I’m reading it I can see why there is potentially a high drop out rate early from the book, and why I remember loving the book when I read it before.

Daniel Sempere has lost his mother at a young age, and the first 100 pages is a slow charector development. ...
If you stopped before page 100, and it’s because you dislike young adult fiction or mystery, or especially young adult mystery as a genre, then it’s not the book for you. But if you do like young adult novels, and just never got into it, I recommend giving it another shot.

I agree wholeheartedly with nearly all of your review. Two points of "disagreement" are (1) I did not think the first 100 pages were slow to develop and (2) I don't think you have to like YA novels to like it because I liked it and did not even knnow (till this very minute) that it is a YA novel. I enjoyed it as a page-turner, what's-going-to-happen-next kind of book.

Also, I agree with Brun Ugle: yours is a terrific review, better than anything I could have written.
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby lingua » Tue May 21, 2019 1:58 am

I appreciate your review David. I was one who gave up on it because it wasn't holding my interest. Additionally, I did not like the Italian translation. Perhaps it is better in Spanish. I would consider giving it another chance after the SC is finished.
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

Postby Brun Ugle » Tue May 21, 2019 6:16 am

MorkTheFiddle wrote:
David27 wrote:I’m reading through la sombra del viento for the second time, and as I’m reading it I can see why there is potentially a high drop out rate early from the book, and why I remember loving the book when I read it before.

Daniel Sempere has lost his mother at a young age, and the first 100 pages is a slow charector development. ...
If you stopped before page 100, and it’s because you dislike young adult fiction or mystery, or especially young adult mystery as a genre, then it’s not the book for you. But if you do like young adult novels, and just never got into it, I recommend giving it another shot.

I agree wholeheartedly with nearly all of your review. Two points of "disagreement" are (1) I did not think the first 100 pages were slow to develop and (2) I don't think you have to like YA novels to like it because I liked it and did not even knnow (till this very minute) that it is a YA novel. I enjoyed it as a page-turner, what's-going-to-happen-next kind of book.

Also, I agree with Brun Ugle: yours is a terrific review, better than anything I could have written.

No, it’s not considered a YA novel. He wrote several YA novels earlier. This is his first one for adults. I think it could be enjoyed by younger people too though.

Edit: I didn’t find the first part slow either, but it seems some people did and gave up on the book because of it.
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