Quito, ECUADOR – The great Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón, who wrote the bestseller The Shadow of the Wind, died today in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. He was 55.
The Shadow of the Wind is known to be the most-read Spanish book since the time of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
“One of the most read and admired Spanish authors in the world leaves us,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted on Friday. “Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a leading novelist of our time, leaves an important mark on current literature. Thank you for making us travel through your stories.”
Zafón’s work has always served as an escape from reality. His sinister stories transported the reader, on some occasions to Barcelona or to other distant places in time.
In Julián Carax from Shadow of the Wind, or Oscar in Marina, Zafón created characters who seemed to be real human beings. Their complex feelings and background stories appeal to any reader and make the reading experience deeply personal.
I remember reading Zafóns book Marina in a single sitting. For the hours I was reading the book, I had the feeling I was in Barcelona, my favorite city.
A few years later, I read The Prince of Mist, also in a very short time. I recall reading the story during a storm on the coast of Italy. It was not only the environment I found myself in, but the story and the author’s voice, that made this experience close to magical.
Three days before his death, Carlos Ruiz Zafón tweeted a quote important to him: “What you write is what is most similar to you.”
Zafón not only provided good stories and entertainment for his readers, but he was also a role model for writers.
He shows his deep appreciation for books in all his work, especially in The Shadow of the Wind, where the reader is confronted with secret libraries and haunted books. In this book, he wrote, “Every book, every volume you see, has a soul. The soul of the one who wrote it, and the soul of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it.”
His dark and mythic view of the world will always be remembered.
Although we’ve lost Zafón, his books remain as an escape from reality and a rollercoaster full of emotions.
As Zafón himself once said, “We exist as long as someone remembers us.”
Aileen Cevallos is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.