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Book Review: Marina by Carlos Luis Zafon

3

Blurb:

‘Fifteen years on, the remembrance of that day has returned to me. I have seen that boy wandering through the mist of the railway station, and the name of Marina has flared up again like a fresh wound. We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul. This is mine…’

In May 1980, 15-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts…

His story begins in the heart of old Barcelona, when he meets Marina and her father German Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes ?scar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the fourth Sunday of each month. At 10 a.m. precisely a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman dressed in black, her face shrouded, wearing gloves, holding a single rose. She walks over to a gravestone that bears no name, only the mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings.

When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her they begin a journey that will take them to the heights of a forgotten, post-war Barcelona, a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons; and a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

Marina is a great young-adult gothic and historical fiction. It is an intriguing and interesting piece of literature. And the best thing about it is Zafon’s writing. The plot of the book is bittersweet and hauntingly beautiful making it a very engaging read that needs you to consume it in one go. IMO, it is the perfect book one should read to get out of a reading slump.

The story is narrated by a 15 year old boy named Oscar Drai who has pretty much the same set of issues that any teenage boy would. Kind of Catcher in the Rye sort of a situation but way less depressing. So the plot kicks off when he comes across an almost dilapidated house in the outskirts of Barcelona. He ventures inside out of sheer curiosity to find that it belongs to an aged painter named German Blau and his daughter, Marina. With time, the three of them develop a strong bond that transcends normal friendship norms. As expected, Oscar falls in love with Marina and her enigma within no time. Together, they explore the hidden nooks and crannies of the city and in the process, get embroiled in a story of gargantuan risk and proportions.

Marina is an out and out suspense filled book that can definitely scare the reader in bits and pieces. This is a fantastic tale of magic realism in which the author weaves magic, reality and science fiction to narrate a compelling story in which Barcelona is shown in all its beauty and ominousness. The book is filled with twists and turns making it a multi-layered plot in which each chapter reveals something new. The manner in which the author has sketched the characters is beautiful, especially because as a reader, you can empathize with them oh so much! It is in my opinion, a literary masterpiece that is an example of the best of prose ever written. I can very well imagine Marina being considered as a modern classic. It is not a surprise that I am all set to pick up the next one by Zafon.

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