I had believed this was a sequel to The Shadow of the Wind, but it turns out to be a prequel instead, set in Barcelona mostly around 1930. It is the story of author David Martín and his various struggles and fates.
I found this a much darker book than its predecessor; it's easier to imagine this working as a film, but it's probably not the sort of film I would actually want to go and see - some of it is quite gory. Although I did enjoy the writing and indeed the plot, I didn't find the more metaphysical or supernatural aspects - or the conclusion - satisfying. As I recall, The Shadow of the Wind did resolve itself without the complete suspension of rationality.
I'm putting this one down as a good book, but not entirely to my taste.