‘Marina’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is, by far, my favourite author and I’ve slowly been making my way through his entire works since I found and fell in love with The Shadow of the Wind. I’ve been mesmerised by his writing ever since and have not been disappointed by any of his titles.

Marina is, as described by the cover, ‘a Gothic tale for all ages’. Zafón himself states that “of all the books that [he] has published ever since [he] picked up this odd business of the novelist trade back in prehistoric 1992, Marina remains one of [his] favourites.” This sentiment is entirely understandable.

Marina takes the reader on a Gothic journey with fifteen-year-old Oscar Dari and his new found friend Marina Blau (along with her father Germán, and Kafka the cat) full of mystery and intrigue. A ghost story at its finest – I do not recommend reading this before bed, nightmares are possible – there are moments I wished I had a cushion to hide behind in the hopes that the monsters wouldn’t find me.

I’d say that one of the most beautiful things about this book – there are many – is how the ghost story at the centre of the story, often steps aside to highlight what Marina really is: a wonderful and often heartbreaking story about love and friendship.

I’d highly recommend Marina, and everything else by Zafón, to everyone I meet. Marina was originally published in Spanish and has been translated beautifully into English by Lucia Graves (who has translated Zafón’s other works into English as well). If I didn’t know I would likely believe that it was originally published in English, as the translation is so wonderfully done. Zafón and Graves make a fantastic team and I’m so thankful that translations exist, otherwise my bookshelf would be a whole lot duller without Zafón’s stories.

Quotes worth noting:

“If people thought a quarter of what they speak, this world would be heaven.”

“Patience is the mother of all virtues and the godmother of madness.”

“Nothing in life can be understood until you understand death.”

“Marina once told me that we only remember what never really happened. It would take me a life time to understand what those words meant.”

“We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul.”

More by Carlos Ruiz Zafón:

The Shadow of the Wind

The Angel’s Game

The Prisoner of Heaven 

The Prince of Mist 

The Midnight Palace

The Watcher in the Shadows


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