Hidden Libraries in Fiction

As great as real libraries are, they’re no match for the hidden libraries created by novelists. Magical libraries have unlimited space, can form labyrinths explorable only by the most intrepid, can spontaneously birth characters from the page to the real world, and much more.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
This is the first novel that I personally encountered with an amazing secret library. In 1945 Barcelona, 11-year-old Daniel Sempere is taken by his father to a secret library called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There sit books that have been forgotten by the world, and Daniel is encouraged to choose one, of which he will become the caretaker. He selects a novel called The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax, and comes to discover that someone has been systematically destroying all copies of Julian Carax books. Part mystery, part love letter to literature, this atmospheric novel follows Daniel as he delves into Carax’s life, and into the darkest side of Spain’s history.

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
Claire is the head librarian in the Unwritten Wing of Hell, which contains stories unfinished by authors or not yet written. Sometimes, though, a book can escape into Earth, looking for its author. When one such escape happens, Claire, her assistant, and a young demon go looking for it, only to be sidetracked by an angel looking for a book that is also a powerful weapon. Claire and co. must find it before Heaven and Hell declare war over the missing title. Fantasy and adventure combine for a rollicking ride.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Graduate student Zachary discovers a rare book in the university library, a collection of stories and fables and then, strangely, a story from his childhood. Following a series of clues to a party held by a secret society, Zachary finds his way to and through a doorway to a secret subterranean library, the Harbor on the Starless Sea. But the secret society is trying to close all possible doors to the Harbor. Zachary meets two compatriots, and together they set out on a quest to save the library from destruction. Morgenstern has written a love letter to stories, and to those that cherish them.

~ posted by Andrea G.

3 thoughts on “Hidden Libraries in Fiction”

  1. Ha, the Library of the Unwritten! That’s going to be a massive collection if I consider all those stories that are swirling into my head but who will never come to fruition because you know; 2 % inspiration and 98 % perspiration. Not to mention the amount of times I hear people say; I COULD write a book about that! But it sounds as an interesting story. Pity that it’s not available in Kindle unlimited and 12 $ for a Kindle version is a little steep.

    1. That’s the great thing about magical libraries – no storage limits!
      If you’re looking for a Kindle copy, you can borrow one from the library with your library card! You might have to wait for a copy to become available, but it’s free.

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