Daniel Sempere Quotes in The Shadow of the Wind
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. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down the pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.
After a while it occurred to me that between the covers of each of those books lay a boundless universe waiting to be discovered, while beyond those walls, in the outside world, people allowed life to pass by in afternoons of football and radio soaps, content to do little more than gaze at their navels.
It might have been that notion, or just chance, or its more flamboyant relative, destiny, but at that precise moment I knew I had already chosen the book I was going to adopt, or that was going to adopt me.
I could not blot out Clara’s story about her father’s disappearance. In my world death was like a nameless and incomprehensible hand, a door-to-door salesman who took away mothers, beggars, or ninety-year-old neighbors, like a hellish lottery. But I couldn’t absorb the idea that death could actually walk by my side, with a human face and a heart that was poisoned by hatred, that death could be dressed in a uniform or a raincoat, queue up at a cinema, laugh in bars, or take his children out for walk…and then, in the afternoon, make someone disappear in the dungeons of Montjuïc Castle.
I couldn’t help thinking that if I, by pure chance, had found a whole universe in a single unknown book, buried in that endless necropolis, tens of thousands more would remain unexplored, forgotten forever. I felt myself surrounded by millions of pages, by worlds and souls without an owner sinking into an ocean of darkness, while the world that throbbed outside the library seemed to be losing its memory, day after day, unknowingly, feeling all the wiser the more it forgot.
I imagined Julián Carax at that age, holding that image in his hands…and for a moment I thought there were no more ghosts there than those of absence and loss, and that the light that smiled on me was borrowed light, real only as long as I could hold it in my eyes, second by second.
Julián lived in his books. The body that ended up in the morgue was only a part of him. His soul is in his stories. I once asked him who inspired him to create his characters, and his answer was no one. That all his characters were himself.
He didn’t tell me any of that because he knew that the miracle happened only once…A thousand times I’ve wanted to recover that first afternoon with Bea in the rambling house of Avenida del Tibidabo…
Nobody had noticed, nobody had paid attention, but as usual, the essential part of the matter had been settled before the story had begun, and by then it was too late.
“Look, the one thing that really pisses me off is people who stir up the shit from the past!” Fumero cried out. “Things from the past have to be left alone, do you understand?”
I was afraid of listening to Julián and starting to believe, as he did, that we were all bound together in a strange chain of destiny, afraid of recognizing in you the Julián I had lost.
Of all the things that Julián wrote, the one I have always felt closest to my heart is that so long as we are being remembered, we remain alive…Remember me, Daniel, even if it’s only in a corner and secretly. Don’t let me go.
It was Laín Coubert, just as I’d learned to fear him reading the pages of a book, so many years ago…I saw how the hand of the angel pierced [Fumero’s] chest, spearing him, how the accursed soul was driven out like black vapor, falling like frozen tears over the mirror of water.
I can’t remember his exact words, or the sound of his voice. I do know that he held my hand and I felt as if he were asking me to live for him, telling me I would never see him again. What I have not forgotten is what I told him. I told him to take that pen, which had always been his, and write again.
Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it’s an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.