Carlos Ruíz Zafón. The Spanish writer was born in Barcelona. Working as a screenplay writer in Los Angeles, he began to develop his novel writing career.
The Most Translated Contemporary Spanish Author
Carlos Ruíz Zafón’s book, La Sombra del Viento (The Shadow of the Wind, 2001) has been translated into more than 30 languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide. That makes him the most translated contemporary Spanish author to date. His love for mystery books is easily noted in his novels. He mixes gothic environments with everyday costumbrism (local everyday life from the common people’s point of view) and touches of humour which create the perfect intrigue that grabs the reader from the very first page.
The Shadow of the Wind, a fictional novel for adults, tells the story of a young boy and a mysterious book in an even more mysterious place, the Cemetery of the Forgotten Books. When the young boy becomes an adult, he begins searching for the book’s enigmatic author, who no one knows anything about. The search takes him on a trip between decadent post-Spanish civil war Barcelona (a cold, gray city seemingly isolated from the rest of the world) and Paris, where the mysterious author lived a bohemian lifestyle. This passionate story transforms the reader into the story's main character as he searches for the mysterious author.
Recently, Ruiz Zafón has published a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind titled El Juego del Ángel (The Angel’s Game, 2008). In this prequel, the author returns to the Cemetery of the Forgotten Books, using it as the connecting link to The Shadow of the Wind. The first book was set in post Spanish civil war Barcelona, while The Angel’s Game takes place in the Barcelona of the 1920’s.
Before The Shadow of the Wind came along, Zafón had published 4 novels which were focused towards young adults: El príncipe de la niebla (The Prince of Mist, 1993), which won the Edebé Literary Award; El palacio de la medianoche (Midnight Palace, 1994); Las luces de septiembre (September Lights, 1995) and Marina (1999). He once stated that he writes the type of novels he would’ve loved to have seen sold in bookshops when he was a boy.
Carlos Ruíz Zafón was born in Barcelona in 1964. He lived in Los Angeles (United States) from 1994 until 2006, working as a screenplay writer, where he began to develop his novel writing career. He returned to Barcelona in 2006, where he currently resides today. This is what he said about his beloved hometown in an interview published for Spanish newspaper “La Vanguardia” on 28 June 2001:
“I was born and bred here for 28 years. I would cross the city from the Sagrada Familia to the Sarriá School as a small child. It’s a city I have travelled intensely. Its history from the XIX century until the Spanish Civil War (and post war) fascinates me. A similar thing happens with New York’s history from the XIX century until World War II. To me, these 2 cities, much like my childhood landscape scenery, belong in a dark gothic world, which is my world as a writer”.