I sometimes feel like this when we go to the flea market in Geneva and survey a lifetime’s worth of books chucked into banana boxes by the house clearance company sent to empty all trace of a life lived and ended. When I find something I can cherish among the discards, I feel better.
Zafón’s novel is a plea on behalf of books, symbolized most graphically in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, which would be a book lover’s dream hidden library or secondhand bookshop.
The culling of books disturbs me and I am bracing myself to write about it elsewhere on this site.
‘I felt myself surrounded by millions of abandoned pages, by worlds and souls without an owner sinking in an ocean of darkness, while the world that throbbed outside the library seemed to be losing its memory, day after day, unknowingly, feeling all the wiser the more it forgot.’
Source: Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind, trans. Lucia Graves (London: Phoenix, 2012), p. 75
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