June 22, 2020

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


Author Carlos Ruiz Zafon, photographed by Manuel Seco (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of the international hit 2001 novel The Shadow of the Wind, has passed away at the age of 55.

Often critically lauded as the next great Spanish novelist to follow the likes of Cervantes, his legacy is undeniable. Most known for his tetralogy entitled The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, Ruiz Zafón’s work displayed a stalwart appreciation for 19th Century greats like Tolstoy and his native Barcelona. A master of his craft, he was applauded for his ability to conjure vivid scenes that brought readers into another world.

Barcelona, naturally, was the home for the titular cemetery—a mysterious, labyrinthine literary oasis of sorts, existing in spite of a fascist regime. As stated in The Guardian, the epic series sweeps through a myriad of stories weaving a masterfully written commentary on censorship, war, and literary tradition. Xavier Aldrana Reyes of Scroll.in observed that Ruiz Zafón’s modern gothic style and often political subject matter were not coincidental. Indeed, his work is emblematic of a time in history that strove to push up from under the unforgiving concrete cracks paved by the Franco regime. 

Carlos Ruiz Zafón died in Los Angeles of colon cancer

His memory will live on in the pages he left behind, forever illuminating our cultural landscapes, our history, and our humanity.



Andy Dion is an intern at Melville House.