Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Marina – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I’ve had Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon on my book shelf/top of my wardrobe for a good few months now, nine months to be precise.

The novel is a gothic tale and I thought it would make a nice change to the girly/classic/general fiction I read. I do tend to struggle with gothic tales perhaps because I can’t identify with the plot.

Anyhow, Marina tells the tale of protagonists Marina and Oscar. Oscar befriends Marina when he ‘steals’ her father’s watch. Marina takes Oscar to a cemetery (as you do) where they see a coach pulled by black horses and a woman with her face hidden. Inquisitive, they follow the lady which leads them on a horrific and bone-chilling journey.

As they delve further into the mysterious ritual they learn of man called Mijail Kolvenik who housed rooms of dead bodies which he amputated and turned into mechanical creatures. His wife, a shy and broken opera singer, finds out his dark secret just before they are about to marry. Swept up in the romance and lust of their relationship she marries him anyway, however their wedding day is blighted when acid is thrown in her face disfiguring her forever. This is the start of the downfall of one of Barcelona’s most powerful couples. Marina and Oscar eventually learn of the connection between Mijail, his wife and the woman in the cemetery.


Running parallel to this corruption is the beautiful relationship Oscar and Marina develop. They find comfort and companionship with each other, sadly this isn’t set to last.

I loved the fact the novel was set in Barcelona, it’s somewhere I have always wanted to visit and the author created the perfect gothic setting. The book did remind me a bit of the gothic novels of Angela Carter (without the innuendos). However I did struggle to keep interested because of the genre of the novel. Yes I enjoyed it but it’s not a book I would rush to read again but I am still keen to read his bestseller The Shadow of the Wind.


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