Monday, June 22, 2020

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of The Shadow of the Wind, dies aged 55

Carlos Ruiz Zafon at the launch of The Labyrinth of the Spirits 
at the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Barcelona. 
Photograph: Pau Barrena

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of The Shadow of the Wind, dies aged 55

The bestselling novelist, frequently described as the most-read Spanish author since Cervantes, had been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018

Alison Flood
Friday 19 June 2020

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, the Spanish author of internationally bestselling novels including The Shadow of the Wind, has died at the age of 55.
The novelist, who was frequently described as the most-read Spanish author since Cervantes, died on Friday at his home in Los Angeles, his publisher Planeta announced. According to Spanish language reports, Ruiz Zafón had been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018.
Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish prime minister, tweeted: “We have lost one of the world’s most read and most admired Spanish writers. Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a key novelist of our epoch, made a significant contribution to modern literature.”
Calling him “one of the best contemporary novelists”, Planeta quoted from his most famous book, The Shadow of the Wind, a literary thriller about a library of obscure titles: “Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it.” His English-language publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson said it was “deeply saddened to hear of Carlos’ passing”.
The author of eight novels that also include The Angel’s Game and The Labyrinth of the Spirits, Ruiz Zafón’s books sold more than 38m copies worldwide, were translated into more than 40 languages, and won him multiple awards. .
Born in Barcelona, Ruiz Zafón worked in advertising before he made his debut as an author in 1993 with young adult novel The Prince of Mist. In 2001, he published The Shadow of the Wind, which followed a boy called Daniel who is taken to the Cemetery of Lost Books in Barcelona and becomes fascinated by the author Julian Carax and the shadowy figure trying to eradicate every last copy of Carax’s books. The novel was translated into English by Lucia Graves in 2004, and became an international hit. “If you thought the true gothic novel died with the 19th century, this will change your mind,” said Stephen King in a review. “Shadow is the real deal, a novel full of cheesy splendour and creaking trapdoors, a novel where even the subplots have subplots.”
Ruiz Zafón, who moved to Los Angeles in the 1990s, and divided his time between Spain and the US, has said that while he had written “pretty successful” young adult novels for 10 years, with The Shadow of the Wind he “wanted to create something very special”.
“So what I did was take what for me is very important, which is take all the great ambition in all those 19th-century novels, but try to reconstruct those big novels – the Tolstoy, the Dickens, the Wilkie Collins – but try to reconstruct all of that with all the narrative elements that the 20th century has given us, from the grammar of cinema, from multimedia, from general fiction, from everything that is out there, to create a much more intense reading experience for the readers,” he said.
He followed the bestseller up with three more novels in the series, The Angel’s Game, The Prisoner of Heaven and The Labyrinth of Spirits. Completing the tetralogy, he told Spanish press in 2016 that he had “the feeling of the job done”.
“In the end it has been what I dreamed of,” he said, describing the series as “books about my own inner world, about writing and reading … I wanted to explore the creative process of storytelling, and this has allowed me to understand many things about myself. I do not know if I am wiser, but I feel more at peace with myself.”
In an essay reflecting on his career, Ruiz Zafón wrote that he felt he had “no other choice” but to be a writer: “Sometimes people ask me what piece of advice I would give to an aspiring author. I’d tell them that you should only become a writer if the possibility of not becoming one would kill you. Otherwise, you’d be better off doing something else. I became a writer, a teller of tales, because otherwise I would have died, or worse.”

No comments:

Post a Comment