I really wish I spoke multiple languages so I could read books as they were written. Alas, I only speak English. I can only imagine how amazing it would be to read Dostoevsky in Russian. Given where I live, learning Spanish would be pretty easy to do, but I am just too lazy. And I don’t think I could have the patience to stick with learning to become fluent enough to read an entire novel. But, I like the idea of it. A friend of mine who taught Spanish, but was a native English speaker, told me once that there really is something lost in the translation. The Shadow of the Wind would be in my top 5 books to read in the native language, along with the aforementioned Dostoevsky (not Tolstoy. Blech) and Love in the Time of Cholera.
A couple people recommended this to me, so I grabbed it at the library. I started reading without looking at the blurb, even. Sometimes I like to be surprised. And I was. The story takes place in the 1940s/50s in Spain. Daniel is a young boy when he discovers a book called The Shadow of the Wind (side note, how many book titles are titles of fictitious books?) by Julian Carax. He has never heard of the book or the author, but loves the book, so he starts to dig.
This book is part love story, part detective novel, all set in a beautiful city and a beautiful language. And even though I might not have grasped the full beauty of the book because I read a translation, it doesn’t matter. The story is captivating, the characters are endearing, and the words are simply wonderful.