The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

by

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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Mr. Sempere Character Analysis

The kind and humble owner of a secondhand bookshop, Mr. Sempere is Daniel’s father. While the novel’s fathers are often dogmatic and controlling, using their children to fulfill their own ends, Mr. Sempere is unusually loving and understanding, and he and Daniel have a close relationship. Still, Daniel sometimes finds it hard to relate to his father, who has never completely recovered from his wife’s death and prefers to live among his memories than in the present. Mr. Sempere contrasts with Daniel’s other figures, like Fermín, Barceló, and Carax, who seem like more worldly and powerful men; Daniel also keeps his investigations secret from his father as long as possible, which makes them distant from each other. However, at the end of the novel they reconcile, and Daniel follows in his father’s footsteps as a bookseller. Daniel’s ultimate resemblance to his father, and his decision to bring his son to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books just as his father once brought him, is a vindication of Mr. Sempere as a man and a father.

Mr. Sempere Quotes in The Shadow of the Wind

The The Shadow of the Wind quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Sempere or refer to Mr. Sempere. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Shadow of the Wind published in 2005.
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Mr. Sempere (speaker), Daniel Sempere
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Days of Ashes: Chapter 5 Quotes

Going over all this in my mind, it occurred to me that perhaps the papier-mâché world that I accepted as real was only a stage setting.

Related Characters: Daniel Sempere (speaker), Mr. Sempere
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
City of Shadows: Chapter 33 Quotes

I looked at that man whom I had once imagined almost invincible; he now seemed fragile, defeated without knowing it. Perhaps we were both defeated.

Related Characters: Daniel Sempere (speaker), Mr. Sempere
Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mr. Sempere Character Timeline in The Shadow of the Wind

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Sempere appears in The Shadow of the Wind. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...walks with his father to the mysterious Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time. Mr. Sempere warns Daniel never to speak to anyone of what he will see inside. When Daniel... (full context)
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Mr. Sempere owns a bookshop he inherited from his father. He and Daniel live over the bookshop... (full context)
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
...at dawn “screaming” because he can no longer remember his mother’s face. After comforting him, Mr. Sempere says he has something to show him and leads him through the sleepy city streets.... (full context)
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
...through them are several men Daniel recognizes as other booksellers and colleagues of his father. Mr. Sempere tells Daniel that “every volume you see here has a soul” and preserves the thoughts... (full context)
Days of Ashes: Chapter 1
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...that his well-read father has never even heard of the Shadow of the Wind. Intrigued, Mr. Sempere examines the book and sees it was printed in Barcelona in 1936, with a first... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Coincidence and Determinism Theme Icon
Mr. Sempere decides to consult his prosperous and connected colleague Gustavo Barceló. Barceló owns a huge bookstore... (full context)
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...where Daniel found it, although Daniel won’t divulge the secret of the Cemetery. Barceló offers Mr. Sempere a large sum to buy the book, but Mr. Sempere says it’s Daniel’s decision. Daniel... (full context)
Days of Ashes: Chapter 5
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
...letters to “that unknowable” place where Daniel’s mother has gone. The shopkeeper tells Daniel and Mr. Sempere that the pen belonged to Victor Hugo; because of this, it’s incredibly expensive. Mr. Sempere... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
If the fountain pen is longer there, Mr. Sempere says, they’ll have the watchmaker, Don Federico, make a copy. Don Federico is known throughout... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
...to see the pen every weekend, reporting on its status to his father. He tells Mr. Sempere he wants to use it to write to his mother, and is unconvinced when his... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Daniel returns home from Barceló’s house preoccupied. When Mr. Sempere asks what he’s thinking about, he answers, “the war.” Daniel has never questioned postwar Spain’s... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Daniel tells Mr. Sempere that he has befriended Clara and promised to read to her, without commenting on his... (full context)
Days of Ashes: Chapter 6
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Mr. Sempere also disapproves of Daniel’s devotion to Clara, and says he ought to spend more time... (full context)
An Empty Plate: Chapter 7
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...sixteenth birthday, Daniel decides to throw a dinner party, inviting only Barceló, Clara, and Bernarda. Mr. Sempere thinks it’s a bad idea and that they won’t come, but Daniel doesn’t listen to... (full context)
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
On the night of the party, Mr. Sempere cooks an enormous dinner, but Barceló has to leave town for a business trip and... (full context)
An Empty Plate: Chapter 10
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
When Daniel returns home, he finds Mr. Sempere still dressed and smoking in his armchair. Daniel refuses to say exactly where he’s been... (full context)
True to Character: Chapter 11
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...other things. He’s particularly distracted by his work at the bookshop, which is unusually busy. Mr. Sempere muses that they need to hire a third person, someone who appreciates literature and is... (full context)
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Despite Fermín’s shame at his shabby appearance, Daniel introduces him to Mr. Sempere , who receives the homeless man artfully, offering him a bath and a clean suit... (full context)
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Daniel rustles up one of Mr. Sempere ’s old suits, and when he returns the two men are chatting comfortably, Fermín explaining... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
...large hat and galoshes and charming everyone he knows with an unending stream of talk. Mr. Sempere finds him a room in the boardinghouse of a sympathetic friend who lets Fermín live... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
...that he’s screaming suicide threats in his room and refusing to come out. Daniel and Mr. Sempere hurry over and placate the annoyed landlady. Mr. Sempere sends Daniel for Dr. Baró, the... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
...Fermín’s apology for the disturbances, pitying him as a “dispossessed” person like herself. Daniel and Mr. Sempere start including Fermín in family activities so he feels less lonely. (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 16
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
...“nothing to do” with their time. The man giggles and warns Daniel that he and Mr. Sempere are harboring “undesirable characters” in the shop, subsequently alleging that Don Federico visits the shop... (full context)
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
To relieve his anxiety, Daniel goes for a walk. He decides not to tell Mr. Sempere and Fermín about this development, thinking that making them anxious would be playing into Fumero’s... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 18
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...while Fermín teases him about his imminent meeting with Bea. Their neighbor Merceditas—whom Daniel believes Mr. Sempere likes, and who definitely likes him—drops by with some apples for them. (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 19
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
...ability to reason. He begins to fight with Merceditas about the hypocrisy of religion until Mr. Sempere orders Fermín to go to the pharmacy and buy things for Don Federico. (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...that Fumero tortured Don Federico in order to demonstrate his power over Fermín, Daniel tells Mr. Sempere about the inspector’s visit, but his father just tells him to keep quiet and not... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 22
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...Daniel thinks he could be a good father, ideally a supportive and thoughtful one like Mr. Sempere . He wants to become a better man and start a family with Bernarda. Daniel... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 32
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After the doctor leaves, Barceló calls Mr. Sempere to say that Fermín has had a “minor accident” and is recuperating with Bernarda. He... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 33
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Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Finally returning home at dawn, Daniel finds the careworn Mr. Sempere asleep with an open book at the dining table. Daniel is surprised by how frail... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 34
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...of Bea’s body all night. In the morning, Fermín returns to the bookstore and horrifies Mr. Sempere with his bruised face. (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 36
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
In the evening, without telling Mr. Sempere , Daniel and Fermín walk to a café, immediately noticing that a policeman is following... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 37
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The next morning, Daniel visits Nuria, telling Mr. Sempere that he’s going for a walk. He’s beginning to feel bad about lying to his... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 39
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Daniel returns to the bookstore to find Mr. Sempere annoyed at his long absence. Mr. Sempere leaves to meet a client, leaving a letter... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 40
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Mr. Sempere returns home sad and anxious about the possibility that Daniel will be drafted. After dinner,... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 41
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...a façade of normal life, the Semperes open the bookshop as usual the next day. Mr. Sempere questions Daniel about Nuria, and Daniel admits that she was a friend of Carax and... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 44
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Daniel is happy to see Mr. Sempere when he returns. He hugs his father and says he loves him. Still, he then... (full context)
The Shadow of the Wind: Chapter 4
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Daniel drifts into unconsciousness, hallucinating that he’s an old man with Bea and also that Mr. Sempere and Nuria are crying over his grave. Before he faints, he remembers his mother’s face... (full context)
Postmortem
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Daniel wakes up in the hospital to find Mr. Sempere , Bea, and Fermín standing guard over him. Barceló, Clara, Tomás, Bernarda, and their neighbors... (full context)
Dramatis Personae
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...later, Daniel has a son named Julián and runs the bookshop with Bea’s help, while Mr. Sempere is retired. Bea is “strong and wise,” although given to occasional reveries. Daniel says that... (full context)