Did you know that before beginning his acclaimed Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, Ruiz Zafón wrote several books for young adults? As he writes in his preface, Marina is the final one he completed before embarking on The Shadow of the Wind, and it is a book that holds a special place in his heart.

It’s 1979 and Oscar, a lonely boarding school student, wanders the streets of Barcelona and comes upon a dilapidated gothic mansion and its residents. After a bumpy start he is befriended by Marina who lives in the house with her father and their cat, Kafka. Early one Sunday morning Marina takes him to Sarría cemetery where they witness a veiled woman in black laying a single red rose at a grave marked only with a strange black butterfly. They follow her and so begins a macabre story spanning both the century and the city, full of atmosphere and suspense.

The city itself is not simply a backdrop, it’s really another character in the novel, brought to life by Ruiz Zafón’s very visual prose style. Have a map to hand so you can trace Oscar and Marina’s steps, from the Estación de Francia and the seedy Raval quarter, to the hilltop suburb of Vallvidrera and the beautiful coastline to the north. Then even if, like me, you have never had the chance to visit Barcelona,  you will feel that you know it intimately by the time you have finished the story.

If you would like to buy this book please send me a message.

Title: Marina
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Published: 22 July 2014