I visited Barcelona through the pages of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s books long before being there physically in 2011.
Back then, I couldn’t finish reading a book no matter how hard I tried—especially after reading something as good as Khalid Husseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns.” A good friend of mine suggested “The Shadow of the Wind” and I was so hooked that I “binge-read” it—I couldn’t sleep until I was done reading the whole book.
Luckily, a business opportunity came my way and I had the chance to visit Barcelona and relive the ambiance that Zafón’s words had created in my imagination while taking strolls on La Rambla and the quarters of Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). I shall be forever indebted to the writers who have not only entertained me with their novels, but have also touched my heart and taught me through quotes spread here and there across the pages of their books.
Sadly, on June 19th, on the same day in which the movie world lost Sir Ian Holm, the literary world lost its “gothic knight” while everyone including me was busy with what the pandemic has done to our lives.
One of my all-time, most beloved writers, who died of cancer at the age of 55, had once said, “Remember me, even if it’s only in a corner and secretly. Don’t let me go.”
To pay a tribute, my way, here are 24 of my favorite Carlos Ruiz Zafón quotes:
“Our body begins to destroy itself from the moment it is born. We are fragile. We’re creatures of passage. All that is left of us are our actions, the good or the evil we do to our fellow humans.”
“Literature, at least good literature, is science tempered with the blood of art. Like architecture or music.”
“Do you know the best thing about broken hearts? They can only really break once the rest is just scratches.”
“The nurse knew that those who really love, love in silence, with deeds and not with words.”
“If you really want to possess a woman, you must think like her, and the first thing to do is win over her soul. The rest, that sweet, soft wrapping that steals away your senses and your virtue, is a bonus.”
“Perhaps for that very reason, I adored her all the more, because of the eternal human stupidity of pursuing those who hurt us the most.”
“I think you judge yourself too severely, a quality that always distinguishes people of true worth.”
“We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul.”
“Nobody knows much about women, not even Freud, not even women themselves. But it’s like electricity: you don’t need to know how it works to get a shock on the fingers.”
“There are two things in life you cannot choose. The first is your enemies; the second your family. Sometimes the difference between them is hard to see, but in the end time will show you that the cards you have been dealt could always have been worse.”
“I knew then that I would devote every minute we had left together to making her happy, to repairing the pain I had caused her and returning to her what I never known how to give her. These pages will be our memory until she draws her last breath in my arms and I take her forever and escape at last to a place where neither heaven nor hell will ever be able to find us.”
“The most despicable humans are the ones who always feel virtuous and look down on the rest of the world.”
“I’ve always thought that anyone who needs to join a herd so badly must be a bit of a sheep himself.”
“Maturity is simply the process of discovering that everything you believed in when you were young is false and that all the things you refused to believe in turn out to be true.”
“It’s the student who makes the teacher, not the other way around.”
“Money is like any other virus: once it has rotted the soul of the person who houses it, it sets off in search of new blood.”
“A good friend once told me that the problems are like cockroaches. If drawn to light, they’ll get scared.”
“Everything can be forgiven in this world, save telling the truth.”
“It’s curious how easy it is to tell a piece of paper what you don’t dare say to someone’s face.”
“Someone once said that the moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you’ve already stopped loving that person forever.”
“I believe that nothing happens by chance. Deep down, things have their own secret plan, even though we don’t understand it.”
“Youth is like a fickle girlfriend. We can’t understand or value her until she goes off with someone else, never to return.”
“Wars have no memory, and nobody has the courage to understand them until there are no voices left to tell what happened, until the moment comes when we no longer recognize them and they return, with another face and another name, to devour what they left behind.”
“Not evil. Moronic, which isn’t quite the same thing. Evil presupposes a moral decision, intention, and some forethought. A moron or a lout, however, doesn’t stop to think or reason. He acts on instinct, like a stable animal, convinced he’s doing good, that he’s always right, and sanctimoniously proud to go around f*cking up…anyone he perceives to be different from himself, be it because of skin color, creed, language, nationality, or…leisure habits. What the world needs is more thoroughly evil people and fewer borderline pigheads.”