When Daniel is a young boy, Mr. Sempere introduces him to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a clandestine Barcelona institution where booksellers preserve old books that are in danger of fading away in the real world. On his first and all subsequent visits, Daniel is awestruck, and feels that the library contains depths of knowledge and truth which he will never be able to fully understand. The secret and sacred library establishes books and literature as both precious and distinct from other forms of art and media, able to store and transmit complex truths that normally elude people, yet vulnerable to destruction in the petty and vulgar real world. The Cemetery also shows the extent to which literature draws people together in the novel. Daniel brings Bea there as a sign of his serious feelings for her; the final scene, in which Daniel brings his own son Julián there for the first time, is not only a moment of bonding between father and son but also a link back to Daniel’s relationship with his own father.
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books 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 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.