Sunday 22 April 2018

Marina by Aoibheann McCann (2018)

This tragi-comic novel follows Marina from infancy through a troubled childhood and the forging of a lifelong friendship with someone as lost as herself. The story of the heroine’s mental struggles, her musical talent, her escape to London, her offbeat boyfriend, her sojourn in surburbia and eventual return to Ireland builds to a shocking crescendo. It is a narrative so rich with emotion and alive with intimate detail that when you finish reading you wish there could be more.


A dark and compelling debut novel chronicling the life of the musically gifted but emotionally unstable, Marina.
The descriptions of Marina's childhood was fascinating and full of wry humour. I found it difficult to put this book down.
Marina's life in England was a lot different to life in Ireland. She didn't have the safety net that family and friends provide and her life spiralled out of control pretty quickly. There was a dearth of likeable or redeemable characters in this book which added to the darkness and tension that permeated the whole story. I found myself wanting to give Marina a good shake for her choice in men and allowing herself to become abused in the misguided belief that she was 'saving' him. In the end Marina needed saving from herself. 

The author's writing style is very unique and different. Full of imagery, metaphors and told from the perspective of a character whose mind is fractured. The pace of the novel was very quick and I found myself passing quickly over the more thought provoking pieces of prose. Some of Marina's dialogue and inner musings left me with the feeling that I would need to go back and read it again and think about it to fully understand what was going on in her head.  This was especially true at the end of the novel as it ended quite abruptly and tragically. 

Marina complex, unique and brilliant.

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