I have just completed this book which I enjoyed very much. The book is the story of Daniel who chooses a book from the Cemetery of Forgotten books in Barcelona when he is taken there by his Father, and who also happens to be a bookseller.
In attempting to find out more about the author of his chosen book, Daniel uncovers the stories of the friends, lovers, enemies and family of the mysterious Julian Carax.
The mystery of Julian Carax is gradually revealed by Zafon through his use of story – letters, notes and testimonies by the various inhabitants of Barcelona. These stories build up a picture of the events of Carax’s life until the climax of the book.
Zafon is largely successful in keeping the mystery hidden from the reader until the final few stories are told. By then, the reader can deduce what has happened to Carax, but the journey has been entertaining and interesting, and you are impelled further to find out what happens to Daniel.
Barcelona looms large in the book which includes photographs of places in Barcelona mentioned in the story. It is a well written mystery which uses the various storytelling techniques to great effect .
In fact books are revered in the story as integral to the lives of the protagonists who share, value, destroy and resurrect them. As well as telling a great mystery story, Zafon seems to be promoting the cherishing of books to a readership that is on the verges of the e-reader generation.