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3.92  ·  Rating details  ·  1,205 Ratings  ·  266 Reviews
A coming-of-age story, based on a recent shocking chapter of Argentine history, about a young woman who makes a devastating discovery about her origins with the help of an enigmatic houseguest.
 
Perla Correa grew up a privileged only child in Buenos Aires, with a cold, polished mother and a straitlaced naval officer father, whose profession she learned early on not to dis
...more
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(showing 1-30)
If Perla was a theatrical production, I’d jump to my feet, applaud and shout “brava!” This visceral reaction – that something very special has just been experienced – is precisely how I felt upon closing the last page of this spellbinding book.

Where do I even begin? Perhaps with the title: Perla is a college-aged young woman whose father, a Navy Officer, was on the wrong side of the heinous Argentina Dirty Wars. During those wars, many innocent people simply disappeared; they were drugged and t
...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Good story about a dark and tragic time in Argentinian history. The government killed or "disappeared" about 30,000 in the 70’s and 80’s. Didn't care too much for the magical realism parts of the book. It was very abstract and overly descriptive for my taste. De Robertis narration did hold my attention with her soothing rhythmic voice, though. 3.5★s
"Perla" has unnerved me. I find myself at a bit of a loss in trying to begin to tell, share, explain this novel. Without a doubt, this book is an exquisite piece of writing which pulls you, the reader, inside Perla's mind and heart where you begin to float on tangled gossamer, caught by a nebulous visitor dripping water and words on her floor. You will feel dazed for a while, as the sentences hold time still, word after word, a stream of consciousness filling half a page here, and there, and the ...more
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It was amazing, beautiful, strange, shocking, sad, traumatic and unforgettable. I was pulled into the beautiful and ethereal text, into a young woman's living room as a strange visitor appeared on a rug on the floor, completely naked and shedding smelly sea water.

This is a story of discovery. It is a story about terrible things that happened to people. It is a story of a young woman searching for herself and her identity. It is a story about a beautiful future and hope too. It was wonderful.
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a novel about Argentina, about the men and women who "disappeared"under their dictatorship and about the mothers and grandmothers who protested in the square demanding the return of their son, daughters and grandchildren. It is a novel about a young woman named Perla, the secrets in her house and the truths she does not want to face. I was first drawn to this novel by the cover and the title, before I even knew what this book was about. The prose is elegant and beautiful, even when at ti ...more
In years 1974-1983 in Argentina, around 30,000 people disappeared. These people were those sided with left wings or had socialism activities. Military and right wing forces were responsible for those disappearances.

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After democratic government held the power again, the next kin of victims received some compensation for what happened during those terror years.

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It’s believed lots of children of those who’s been killed were raised by the families of military officers. Some o
...more
One day a man shows up in the home Perla, of the title, shares with her parents. Her father, a high-ranking naval officer, and her mother are away in Uruguay on a vacation. This man constantly drips water and stinks of the sea, throwing Perla into a quandary - is he real? is he alive? - and distracting her from her first-year university studies. We learn along with her that he is one of the "Desaparecidos", the disappeared, of Argentina's recent past, and we also learn along with Perla why he ha ...more
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Now I have a wonderful dilemma - I gave De Robertis powerful first novel 5 stars, but her second book is even better!

Powerfully written, with beautiful lyrical language, this is the tale of one young girl's life in the time of The Disappeared in Argentina. I was so drawn into Perla's story that I didn't even see the twists coming.

I can't wait for Di Robertis third novel (due next year) & she is one of my new favourite authors!

Best fiction I have read this year!
This is the second book I've tried to read by this author, and I just can't get any traction.
In this one she seems to go for two styles of writing, neither of which works for me.
Style #1 is dreamy and floaty and makes me feel like I'm under water. Or better yet, like I'm lying in a field of poppies....poppies....poppies.... Very soon the psychedelic fairies and butterflies will arrive to explain that someone slipped me some magic mushrooms.
Style #2 is more concrete, but it consists of those p
...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked itSavanna Camel Winter Jacket New Tricot Gina
The Dirty War of Argentina (1975-1983), what dirty legacy has been left by this war on the Argentinian people? An answer to this question, through the distorted /skewed “writing lens” of magical realism, is what this novel offers you. Bizarrely enough, although the magical reality portrayed is nonsensical, you get an honest, a perceptive and a heart wrenching idea of the consequences of this war. I cannot say more without giving significant spoilers.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the
...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Perla by Carolina De Robertis is an ambitious and emotional novel.
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The protagonist Perla grew in in Argentina in a privileged family and she has to come to terms with her father’s ugly past as she learns about his part in war crimes that have terrorised the country. Perla understands that her parents were on the wrong side of the conflict but her love for her father is unconditional.

No doubt the concept for this book is excellent and Carolina De Robertis has a unique way of telling a story that m
...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, e-books
One day, Perla arrives home to find a strange man in her parents' living room, with no sign of how he entered. The man is soaked and oozes water all the time. A growing bond develops between the two as their back stories are told via flashbacks: The stranger is one of the “disappeared”, a victim of Argentina's Dirty War, speaks of his horrendous torture and his lost family. Meanwhile, Perla remembers her childhood, her strong relationship with her Papa and odd relationship with her mother, and h ...more
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazingGina Winter New Camel Jacket Savanna Tricot
Shelves: favorites
This book is not for everyone. Not for the squeamish. Not for those who have difficulty suspending disbelief.
I love this book. It all came together at the end and touched me deeply. Books that make me cry generally get 5 stars, thus my rating.
Lyrical and multi-faceted on the meaning of family. I hope my daughter reads this someday.
In the late seventies and early eighties, Argentina was ruled by a military junta that came to power in a violent coup. The junta waged what was known as the Dirty War against guerillas and other leftists, leading to the “disappearance” and death of as many as 30,000 people, including pregnant women whose babies were often sent to live with members of the regime. While I knew that Argentina had experienced long bouts of political unrest, thanks to the likes of Evita, I had never heard of the gen ...more
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May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Perla by Carolina De Robertis is a historical fiction book about Argentina’s Dirty War. The author is a daughter to Uruguayan parents, but her grandparents were Argentineans in exile.

Perla, a young woman and a university student, seeks to find answers. The tradition in her family is to not to ask questions, especially about her father’s activities during the time known as Argentina’s Dirty War. As Perla grows up, she separates her family life from her personal life.

One day, after Perla arrives h
...more
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Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Perla is a gorgeous novel written about an ugly time in Argentina's recent history. It is the story of one young woman raised to adore her military father, who gradually discovers who he is and, in the process, who she is, too. If you can appreciate magical realism, and are curious about South American politics, you'll appreciate this book.

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Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Simply amazing. One of the best books I've read in a long time. No review I could write would do it justice. Some of the most beautiful writing.
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
State-sponsored terrorism during Argentina’s Dirty War was employed in order to eradicate political subversives. Although the junta claimed that their repression tactics were aimed at radical guerilla groups, it was actually enforced against the general population. Years later, there is still an unaccounted for number—over 30,000—of “los desaparecidos,” (The Disappeared) the people that were abducted and tortured, or thrown from airplanes into the ocean.

PERLA is the story that takes place after
...more
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
I found this book very tedious and had it not been for a reading challenge I would have moved on with no remorse. The subject matter was important but it just didn't deliver. It could have been so much more. I found it to be overwritten and flouncy. The magical realism seemed really out of place, and I am not anti-magical realism. For a subject that is so deep the story ended up being very shallow. Not for me. I am a little confused as to how it has received so many glowing reviews. Each to thei ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uruguay
Beautifully poetic, sad and hopeful. This is a story about the inscrutability of cruelty, the imagined difference between people and amorphous, slippery survival. Ms. DeRobertis is a brilliant writer. She and her wife live in Oakland, CA, but she writes magical realism as naturally as Allende or Puig. Really delicious.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Perla is a book to marvel at. The language and writing are magnificent. The narrative and characterizations are sublime. Together, they all work to carry the reader away to another land, another time and submerse us in the world that Carolina di Robertis has created.

Perla is the daughter of a navy officer, a man who participated in The Process, which some people call The Bad Years, during the dictatorship of General Jorge Videla- the dictadura - in Argentina during the 1970's and 1980's. During
...more
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Before stumbling upon this book, I had never even heard of Argentina's Dirty War, which took place in the late 70's and early 80's. Argentina's right wing military dictatorship kidnapped, held, and tortured people, and many were drugged, boarded onto airplanes, then dropped in the Atlantic Ocean to drown. It is estimated that there are up to 30,000 desaparecidos from the Dirty War. How could I have missed that?

Having lived in Chile, I knew about Pinochet's military coup and dictatorship, and th
...more
I enjoyed this book, which tells a compelling story of a young woman in early-21st-century Argentina struggling with the repercussions of the “dirty war” (the military government’s campaign against so-called subversives in the early 70s and late 80s), her father’s participation in it and her own identity.

This is a short book, but its scope is narrow enough that the story it tells is complete. The plot is compelling, and doesn’t depend for suspense on its major secret as I’d thought it might--any
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I wrote in one GoodReads status update that this book "has everything I love in it -- politics, dreamy narrative, violence wrought more prettily than love, complicated characters, deceptive simplicity..."

Set in 2001 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the story follows Perla, a college student who discovers a water-logged specter in her living room. The man is one of the victims of Argentina's war against dissidents and critics, cruelly tortured before his horrible murder.

Perla, now in her early 20s,
...more
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Only got about a third through this book before giving up in exasperation. I have no clue what the raves are for. Or rather, I have a lot of clues what the raves are for, but subject matter isn't enough to make a book worthwhile. There's always an interesting story to be told about military oppression in Argentina and the Disappeared, but this book amazingly made it as uninteresting as possible with its heavyhanded narration and 'literary' circumventing. The poetic flourishes of a narrator who w ...more


Perla is not my stylistic cup of tea. The style is too post-modern and stream of consciousness for me. I love James Joyce and Virginia Woolf but this book just was not nearly as easy for me to follow. But for some reason I’ve never felt at home with “magical realism”. And this book is magical surrealism.
At first I was very intrigued by a topic about the “disappeared”—the desaparecidos taken by the government. And as the blurb tells us, the book is based on the “truth of thirty thousand disappear
...more
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-challenge
Set in modern day Argentina, Perla receives a visit from an unexpected guest, her hidden past. She is startled to discover a strange man wearing no clothes in her living room. He only requests water, which he chews as if it is a feast. The stranger then secretes large amounts of water with his remembrances.

Perla has lived a relatively privileged life. She is the daughter of a Navy officer and her mother stays at home. However the country has recently undergone some political turmoil. Thousands
...more
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I always prefer good fiction to dry history. Statistics on the tens of thousands of people missing during Latin American dictatorships are too much for me to comprehend in my relatively comfortable and logical world. To understand such a violent and brutal world of these societies on an emotional level (which is where I live most essential life), I need to look at history through the lens of fiction. By presenting this reality within the experience of fictional characters, an author can help me ...more
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Carolina De Robertis is the author of Perla and The Invisible Mountain, which was an international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, the recipient of Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize, and a Best Book of 2009 according to the San Francisco Chronicle, O, The Oprah Magazine, and BookList. She is the translator of Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai, which was just made into a feature film, and Roberto A ...more

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“There's that feeling that comes when you read something and the lines speak directly to you, and to you only, even though the person who wrote them died long before you were born, or, even if alive, has no idea you exist. The words seep right into your mind. They pour into your secret hollows and take their shape, a perfect fit, like water. And you are slightly less alone in the universe, because you have been witnessed, because you have been filled, because someone once found words for things within you that you couldn't yourself name – something gesturing not only toward what you are, but what you could become.” 15 likes
“No, I wanted to say, he didn't cut off her hands because he didn't have to, he had cut them off long before, with years of keeping all authority in his own palms, all the rules and all the power and all the answers emanating from him and no one else. And if you don't understand that, if you've never been in such a family, then you can't know the way the mind shackles itself and amputates its own limbs so adeptly that you never think to miss them, never think that you had anything so obscene as choice.” 9 likes
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Material & care

Outer fabric material: 100% polyester

Lining: 100% polyester

Fabric: Faux fur

Care instructions: Do not tumble dry, machine wash at 30°C, Machine wash on gentle cycle

Details

Collar: Turn-down collar

Fastening: Zip

Pockets: Zip pockets

Pattern: Plain

Details: Elasticated waist

Article number: GID21U00A-B11

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