This long book grabbed me very slowly. I didn’t feel for many pages that I would continue reading, but after maybe 200 pages I fell under its spell. The last 150 pages are quite beautiful and surprising and fulfilling in the way that only great novels can be, full of all the joy and heartbreak one could hope for. I feel as though I ought to begin again, to see what I missed. I finished it last night at eleven and find myself this morning still in that post-reading haze, still wanting to return to the last pages, wanting to continue the transmission line between the characters and myself that Zafon created. This is the reason I read–and supposedly the reason I write–to help foster that feeling again and again. That gets lost for me sometimes as I read books that have different sorts of pleasures. The pleasures of Faulkner, for example, are not the same. When I finished Absalom, Absalom, I was not overcome with waves of chills, did not I weep for the beauty of the language nor the lives of the characters, but when I finished The Shadow the Wind, I did both of those things. I will return to read more Faulkner, or Woolf, or Joyce, or Miller, or O’Connor, because the satisfactions of a full reading life require a magnificently large palette of writers, but at the same time, I am grateful to be reminded by Zafon of the sheer joy of reading and finishing a novel with a different sort of impact, one that provides an emotional uncorking often lost when I pursue literature for different reasons.