- Series: Vintage Contemporaries
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (February 12, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307744175
- ISBN-13: 978-0307744173
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 90 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #797,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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“Beautiful. . . . Wrenching. . . . De Robertis is an extraordinarily courageous writer who only gets better with every book.”
“Mesmerizing. . . . A moving, poetic novel about the costs of revolution and the evolutionary process that is identity.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Haunting . . . a sensitive exploration of love, loyalty, and hope in the wake of atrocity.”
—The New Yorker
“De Robertis brings the best of two cultures to bear in her work, melding the Latin literary tradition of magical realism with a thoroughly modern, politically charged North American sensibility. . . . [Her] extraordinary gift makes this brave, important book an object of beauty.”
“De Robertis holds the reader’s attention with her entrancingly rhythmic and pulsating prose. . . . [Her] voice is distinctive and her novel vivid and memorable.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A gripping journey that’s as heart-wrenching as it is healing; a reminder that the Disappeared must not be forgotten. . . . Both the story and prose flow like a glistening Rio de la Plata. . . . De Robertis’ writing . . . from beginning to end hypnotizes with poetic, crushing beauty.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Impressive. . . . Bold. . . . In an artful blend of beauty and horror, De Robertis has made the disappeared visible once again. With that, she has done them—and us—a great service.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“This ambitious narrative . . . is propulsive and emotionally gripping. . . . Culminating in a wrenching catharsis about rebirth and healing.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[Perla] is a literary descendant of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, but very much its own achingly original, hauntingly lyrical outing.”
—East Bay Express
—New York Daily News
“It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve rarely read a more poetic novel than Carolina De Robertis’ Perla. What makes it doubly impressive is the subject matter that this author takes on. . . . De Robertis is a new voice for Latin America, following in the footsteps of Isabel Allende, and dare I say it, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.”
—Washington Independent Book Review
“De Robertis skillfully weaves a lyrical voice around her characters that treats victims, perpetrators, and bystanders with the same care and honesty. The result is a powerfully humanizing effort that examines a nation struggling with a very dark, recent past.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Lyrically combining into reality both the fantastic and the horrific, De Robertis weaves a beautiful and plain-faced tale about birth, rebirth, and the responsibility of inheritance from complex, startling history.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“An elegantly written and affecting meditation on life in the wake of atrocity.”
—Black Jumpsuit Good Twintip Good Black Selling Selling Jumpsuit Twintip Black Jumpsuit Good Twintip Good Selling Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Carolina De Robertis was raised in England, Switzerland, and California by Uruguayan parents. Her debut novel, The Invisible Mountain, was an international best seller that was translated into fifteen languages; it was an O, The Oprah Magazine 2009 Terrific Read, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year, and the recipient of Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize. She is the recipient of a 2012 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her fiction and literary translations have appeared in Granta, Zoetrope: All-Story, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, among other publications. She lives in Oakland, California.
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That said, the beautiful writing is also the book's major flaw: it is overwritten to the point of having every page scream, "look how beautifully I can write...line after line, page after page." In the case of this writer's clear talent, a little would go a long way. Each page is so beautifully composed, often with single sentences that stretch for pages, that the writing pretension takes away from the powerful story because the writing demands you notice it, read it slowly. Often it takes away from the emotion rather than intensifies it. In moderation, this lyrical writing would be a good thing, but there is no moderation here.
Still, I very much enjoyed the book, and being familiar with the subject of the Disappeared and with Buenos Aires, found it compelling in its storytelling. Only one other minor flaw: the ending is rather pat, with everything neatly tied up with a big, happy bow. If only life had such hopeful endings.
Argentina's dirty war is just another of the 20th century's holocausts. This time the criteria was political leanings, not race. As a species, we never seem to run out of criteria for discrimination and barbarism. It all seems to come down to, "you're somehow different from me, therefore you must be exterminated." We've done it to blacks, to aboriginals, to people of the "wrong" ideologies. We vow it must never happen again. And we do it again.
I knew very little about this dark period of history, yet just after I read the book, I read a newspaper account of a woman whose father's remains had just been identified in Uruguay. He had apparently washed ashore -- one of the "disappeared" and through the continuing work of Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, his DNA was linked to his daughter who had been raised by a military family as their own daughter. Just like Perla's story, which author Carolina de Robertis says is fiction.
Truth or fiction, it is a beautifully told terrible story. The supernatural aspects of it slowed me down for a bit, but I was soon swept up in the lyrical prose and ensnared by the horrible events of this dark time. It's a must read for the artistic telling of a story that must be heard.
A moving story that touched me personally as I had planned to go to Argentina as a volunteer in the 70’s but did not go which was a good decision after all.
I learned a lot about Argentina in reading this book because I felt the need to research the things De Robertis wrote about. She was telling true about the history of that troubled country. Very disturbing!
Anyway, I urge you to read it. It is worth your time.
The writing is overly flowery for me, but most members of my my Book Club LOVED this book. Most of them are older and enjoy this kind of literature. I would rather have read a more historical account with more facts.
Most recent customer reviews
Cry at one point- I highly recommend this book