04 Aug / Marina: A Gothic Tale by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, translated by Lucia Graves
If you’re looking for a feel-good love story, this won’t be it. If three separate tragic romances connected by heart-thumping, horrifying adventures sounds about right, then here it is – supercharged adrenaline rush most definitely guaranteed.
First comes young love. While exploring an older section of 1970s Barcelona, boarding high school student Oscar Drai wanders into a crumbling mansion and inadvertently steals a watch. When he goes back to return it, he meets Marina and her weakened, widowed father Germán. While inevitably falling in love, the two teens become embroiled in a decades-long mystery involving damaged lovers, a missing recluse, mad scientist, haunted monsters, black butterflies – and, of course, murder and mayhem that must be solved in order to be stopped.
Intricately overlapping Oscar and Marina’s falling-in-love are two unfinished, unfulfilled tragedies involving Marina’s parents who are separated by a fatal rare disease, and the doomed union of a mysterious industrialist and his diva actress wife. What Marina begins, Oscar must finish, albeit 15 years later. “We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul. This is mine.”
Originally published in 1999 in his native Spain, Marina was intentionally Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s final title for younger readers before he embarked on his epic Cemetery of Forgotten Books tetralogy-plus-a-short-story intended for adult audiences. This English edition is also the last of his already internationally bestselling titles to be thusly translated; we’ve finally caught up with the rest of the world.
In his heartfelt “Dear Reader” introduction, Ruiz Zafón admits to his nostalgic partiality for Marina: “Of all of the books I’ve published ever since I picked up this odd business of the novelist trade back in prehistoric 1992, Marina remains one of my favorites.” Like an unpredictable, scream-inducing, addictive rollercoaster, Marina proves to be a blood-curdling thrill-ride – once begun, you won’t be able to step off.
Readers: Young Adult
Published: 1999, 2014 (United States)