An underground library and the perfect mystery

'Shadow of the Wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
'Shadow of the Wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Cynthia Justus, one of the owners of Talk Story Bookstore in Kauai, Hawaii.

Talk Story Bookstore, on the island of Kauai, is the westernmost bookstore in the entire United States. Run by Cynthia Justus and her husband Ed, the shop serves both locals and the constant crowd of tourists flocking to the island.

With so many tourists in the shop, the booksellers end up recommending titles to people from all over the world. Many people write back — weeks or months later — to tell them what they thought of the books.

One book that Justus has been recommending for more than a decade is Carlos Ruiz Zafon's "The Shadow of the Wind." She's turned dozens of people onto it.

Originally written in Spanish, the translation is beautiful, Justus said. The novel is set in Barcelona, in 1945.

"Without any spoilers, the book starts out with a young man who comes of age. As a gift, his father takes him to this vast, underground library. In the library, there's only one book by each author," Justus explained.

After many hours of exploring the shelves, the young man finally picks a book. He takes it home and begins to read.

"Within the first couple of pages, he must find another book by the same author, and that's where the tale begins."

Justus said she loves recommending it because it has everything a great novel should: It has "a bit of adventure, a bit of mystery, the tiniest bit of romantic interest in it — and you go on a journey."

The Shadow of the Wind The Shadow of the Wind

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.