La Sombra Del Viento
Based on a number of recommendations, I read the best-selling Spanish novel La sombra del viento. It's a thrilling story of a young man's search for information about the author of a book he had loved. The story takes place in Barcelona, mostly in the mid 1950s, and it's full of fabulous descriptions of different places in the city. He meets a host of memorable characters--friends, enemies, even a lover. His search starts off as an adventure, but when he meets resistance, he realizes something awful must have happened, and he becomes obsessed with learning the truth. Even at risk of his own life.
One drawback is that those fabulous descriptions draw on the author's enormous vocabulary, so reading La somba del viento requires a lot of use of the dictionary. If you're a strong reader looking for a challenge, this is a great book to attempt. A determined B2 reader wanting to make the jump to C1 would probably get a lot out of it.
Wow! I was born in Barcelona and read the book some time ago. I must say that the fact that you were able to read such a book shows that you have acquired a strong vocabulary. Congratulations!
You're welcome. After hearing the interview, we bought the English translation for my wife (she thought it was great) and the original Spanish for one of our nieces (haven't heard what she thought, but she had just returned from a stay in Barcelona, so we bet she did enjoy it).
I've seen the kindle version on sale. I may tackle it later on this year! Thanks, I'll read the full review.
On Lang-8, I used the word "folletinesco" (meaning "melodramatic") which appeared in this book in a journal entry. An educated native Spanish speaker posted that he had never heard of that word.
The plot also drags in the middle. "Let's study the mysterious circumstances of Julián Carax's life!" "Now let's investigate his girlfriend!" "His girlfriend's father sounds interesting. . ." "Let's spend the whole chapter on Carax's girlfriend's father's house!"
I had to quit about halfway through because it was so slow, and the vocabulary was too obscure. Nothing kills the pace of reading like having to look in the dictionary every few minutes.
Here's my review (in Spanish) if you want to see it.