Reading Material: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Over the last ten years, I have come to fall in love with the writings of Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  His claim to fame is the amazing novel, “The Shadow of the Wind.”

A friend had suggested I read this book, because she heard someone else suggest it.  I read the book, absorbed it, and fell madly in love with the story.  Zafon went on to write two books connected to this bestseller: “The Angel’s Game” and “The Prisoner of Heaven.”  Each book lived up to the extraordinary storytelling of “The Shadow of the Wind.”

For those who love books, the adventure into a Zafon book creates a new-found love of books all over again.

Like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, many of Zafon’s books that pre-date “The Shadow of the Wind” were originally written in Spanish.  Now, for the English speaking bibliophiles who love Zafon’s works, we have to wait for the translations into English.  They have been slowly, but steadily coming out one by one.

Within those translations, we discover Zafon’s first love…young adult fiction.  That’s how he started out, writing young adult fiction.  Each story he’s written is so miraculous that it stays with you for life.  You never forget a Zafon tale.  He is a master storyteller.

I am currently reading his final young adult fiction book, “Marina.”  Over the past year, I’ve struggled with getting back into reading and traveling the world.  A lot changed in me after the tumor was removed.  Many things that I loved, I didn’t care for anymore, even though I knew it was important to fall back in love with those things again.

“Marina” has finally made me fall back in love with books and travel again.  Zafon is such a masterful storyteller that you can’t help but get caught up in the story.  You hate putting the book down because you feel like the story is going to continue on without you and you may miss something.  You not only connect with the characters, but you truly feel like you, yourself, are part of the story…that this is now a part of your own story.

I have never encountered a writer that can continually, work after work, do what Zafon has done.  He captivates the reader from page one, drawing them into this tale of wonder and intrigue, making us see the streets of Calcutta and Barcelona as if we are standing there with the character, looking over our shoulders as we, too, can hear the snapping of a twig behind us.  We can feel the heat of summer, or the crisp breeze of autumn, hear the rustling of the leaves, and feel the adrenaline rush through us.  It’s what makes us quickly turn the page as we become sucked into the world Zafon has created.

I have had many favorite authors in the past, but Zafon is clearly in a league of his own.

When discussing his hopes for his young adult fiction, Zafon wrote on his website, “They remind me of what the discovery of reading meant to me.”  That is exactly what “Marina” has done for me post-op.  I’ve read many books since my surgery.  From Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” to Alexandre Dumas’s “The Count of Monte Cristo,” to the “Divergent” series and Joseph Delaney’s “Spook’s Apprentice,” none of them have instilled in me the love of reading, adventure and travel like Zafon has done.  He raises this sense of excitement and intrigue in his work that makes you want to be a better human being, because you understand how important knowledge is through books.

If you are new to Zafon, I recommend starting with “The Shadow of the Wind” and then moving through the subsequent novels that followed.  Then after you’ve read the adult fiction, go back and read the young adult fiction.  You will begin to see his mastery in storytelling.  It is as if he has perfected the craft like no other before him could.

After I read “The Shadow of the Wind,” I only wanted to read more and more stories about the love of books, but nothing compared to that masterpiece.  He made me fall in love with books all over again.

Picking up “Marina” all these years later, he’s done it to me all over again.  I have fallen back in love with reading and wanting to travel the world.  He’s helped me rediscover the two things in life I love most.

Here are Zafon’s works (in English) [click on picture to purchase at]: