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Marina (Best Seller (Edebe)) (Spanish Edition) (Spanish) Paperback – October 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Set in Barcelona, Spain from late 1979 to May 1980, this gothic novel centers around 15-year-old boarding school student Oscar Drai. Instead of studying during his free time, the teen explores the city, and one day ends up in an area that seems deserted. Drawn in by music coming from an old dilapidated house, Oscar is given a scare by the owner, an eccentric and haunted German artist. Having accidently taken a watch from the house, the boy returns to bring the valuable item back and meets the enigmatic Marina. Realizing that they both like mysteries, Marina invites Oscar on an escapade to a graveyard to observe a woman who leaves a red rose on an unmarked grave. The two follow this woman, lose her, but eventually wander into an abandoned greenhouse filled with sinister marionettes and grotesque photos. Soon, the narrator becomes embroiled in the lives and histories of a presumed dead actress, recluse tycoon, and mad scientist obsessed with escaping death. From the very first page, this beautifully written work of historical fiction is impossible to put down. With elements of romance, mystery, and horror, none of them overwhelming the other, this complex volume that hints at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein manages to weave together three separate stories for a cohesive and eerie result.—Jesten Ray, Seattle Public Library, WA --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
While wandering the streets of Barcelona, Oscar hears a haunting song and follows it to an ancient mansion overgrown with weeds. There he meets the entrancing, ethereal Marina and her painter father, who live a quiet, antiquated life in the ramshackle, candle-lit building. Soon Oscar spends almost all his free time with Marina, and when they follow a black-veiled woman home from a cemetery, they begin to uncover a series of increasingly disturbing clues about her, the unmarked grave she regularly visits, and the black butterfly symbol that seems to appear everywhere. It all leads to the unsettling history of one of Barcelona’s industrial giants, Mijail Kolvenik, a prosthetics designer who gained renown in the aftermath of WWI and became obsessed with healing deformity and disease—a fixation that led to his horrific fall from grace and left behind terrifying secrets. Originally published in Spain in 1999, this sweeping gothic mystery from Zafón (The Watcher in the Shadows, 2013) delivers gritty atmosphere, perilous action, propulsive storytelling, and ghastly body horror, all tempered by a bittersweet romance. Grades 8-11. --Sarah Hunter --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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“The Sarriá cemetery is in one of Barcelona’s best-hidden corners. If you look for it on the map, you won’t find it. If you ask locals or taxi drivers how to get there, they probably won’t know, although they’ve all heard about it. And if, by chance, you try to look for it on your own, you’re more likely than not to get lost. The lucky few who know the secret of its whereabouts suspect that this old graveyard is in fact an island lost in the ocean of the past, which appears and disappears at random.”
In “Marina” – his main characters are younger than usual – but no less surrounded by mystery. In addition to the graveyard, there are majestic yet crumbling old mansions, an opera house lost in in tragedy, and family secrets that cling and nearly choke.
Even after finishing the book, I know almost nothing about the main character, Oscar, and that is completely OK. I know his part of this gothic tale and through his eyes; I was able to escape again to a long ago and far away world that I love.
This book was sad and glorious. Beautiful and horrific. A wonderful story and an unbelievable fairy tale. A great book and one I was sad to put down.
Marina is a mystery, a sweetly tragic love story, and tale of monsters! Zafon not only writes extremely well, but obviously
has so much fun writing. You don't have to be young to read it. Read it and you'll feel younger.