Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón dies at 55
The Shadow of the Wind is considered the most well-known Spanish novel after Don Quixote.
Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of successful best-sellers that had the city of Barcelona as their focal point, has died at the age of 55 in Los Angeles after two long years struggling with colon cancer.
Zafón noticed the first symptoms during a trip to London in early 2018 and received treatment in the United States, where he continued his literary work and wrote film scripts.
The well-known writer became famous worldwide in 2001 with The Shadow of the Wind, a novel that sold more than 15 million copies and has been considered the most widely-read Spanish novel after Don Quixote. The book, which is part of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books saga, was described by critics as "one of the great literary revelations of recent times" and is set in a mysterious and gothic Barcelona that still attracts thousands of tourists along the routes inspired by his novels.
One of the merits of the first book that makes up the tetralogy is to have managed, at first through word of mouth, to encourage non-regular readers to read — a rare phenomenon that few authors manage to achieve — as well as having among their followers personalities such as the former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher.
His other novels in the tetralogy are The Angel's Game (2008), The Prisoner of Heaven (2011) and The Labyrinth of the Spirits (2016), which form, with the strange and labyrinthine landscape of the streets of the Raval district, the fantastic universe of a literary and dark Barcelona following the history of the 20th century.
Those who knew Ruiz Zafón define him as a "good guy," a writer who always disdained the "literary world," of which he said he was 1% literary and 99% worldly.
"Everything that is said in those fields is for interests disguised as principles," he once said. "There's nothing there that can interest me, for me, it's exactly like the association of friends of zarzuela (a typical Spanish opera)," he added, criticizing the mediocrity of certain supposedly writing environments.
Despite the fact that many have criticized his loss by believing he was not a good writer, he managed to reinvent a fantastic Barcelona, not exactly historical, but his own. And although he was inspired to create his now iconic book cemetery in a Los Angeles bookstore — until a few years ago, some old man's bookstore in the city still boasted of being that eternal storehouse of rare and worn books that he imagined.
He was a publicist, a screenwriter, a writer. Above all, a world-famous storyteller.