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Carlos Ruiz Zafón's posthumous work ‘The City of Steam’ delves into the world of ‘The shadow of the wind’

The book contains four unpublished stories in an homage to the late novelist


18 November 2020 10:11 AM


ACN | Barcelona

‘The City of Steam’, Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s posthumous work comes out on Tuesday. Exploring the universes he created in best-selling novels ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ in a compilation of short stories, including four unpublished tales.

“It is a love letter from him to his readers,” Emili Rosales, Ruiz Zafón’s editor, told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) in an interview. 

“What he wanted was to pay tribute to and please his readers that have followed him through so many years.” Rosales mentioned.

Ruiz Zafón: Catalonia’s most popular writer

Born in Barcelona, the writer is globally the best-selling Catalan author, due to his acclaimed tetralogy ‘The cemetery of forgotten books.’ including his most famous novel ‘The Shadow of the Wind’. Throughout Spain he comes second in readership only after Miguel de Cervantes. 

Ruiz Zafón passed away this June at the age of 55 from cancer, which he had been suffering from for the past two years.

Posthumous work

Rosales described this collection of stories as a way to honour the late novelist.

In 2016, after the release of Ruiz Zafón’s last book, the writer had tasked him to put together this assortment of tales, and delivered him the unpublished stories to be included. 

Despite including only four unpublished stories Rosales insists that due to the restricted release of the other texts, ‘The City of Steam’ is “an organic and well-intertwined literary work that is entirely new.”

It delves into characters and plots that previous readers of Ruiz Zafón’s trilogy will be familiar with as an homage and gift to the readers who “have followed him throughout these years”, Rosalles disclosed. However, in addition to this, it explores new spaces and figures. 

The title story refers to one of the main themes of the compilation. It derives from a quote by Antoni Gaudí, Catalan architect, that when “looking ahead to the immensity of the sea and the sky, said that the light and the steam from the water should be the fabric from which cities should be made.”

Throughout the short stories there is an exploration of metaphorical ideas surrounding the architecture of cities. “The city of steam is the imagined Barcelona, where people from all around the world come from.” Rosales said.

An introduction to Ruiz Zafón

For those who have never explored Ruiz Zafón’s unique universes Rosales calls them to read this work as “an excellent invitation” into his world.

The book will be available from Tuesday in Spanish, on Wednesday in Catalan, Portuguese. In the coming weeks, it is also expected to be available in the 50 languages Ruiz Zafón has previously been translated into.


  • The author Carlos Ruiz Zafón (courtesy of David Ramos/Columna)

  • The author Carlos Ruiz Zafón (courtesy of David Ramos/Columna)

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