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Perla by Carolina De Robertis
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A very accomplished work - not a novel to be read, but rather a prose poem to be devoured - certainly not an easy read for the torture and pain described in poetic detail were shattering - yet the beauty and heroic strength of the main character kept the story from being impossible to get through - a story of history and murder and torture yet also of awakening and courage to face the truth and love -

This is a story to remember and one that sheds light on a terrifically dark time in Argentina's history - I loved De Robertis' other book, the Invisible Mountain, and found this to be a worthy successor - ( )
  njinthesun | Apr 27, 2016 |
The first time I read this book, the importance of the story didn’t sink in. It took a trip to Argentina to understand the violent military regime that tortured and killed so many. Perla is the college-aged daughter of an important Navy officer. She lives the good life. When a ghost of a man who magically appears and continually seeps water all over the Persian rug, she begins to see all that has happened. Her parents haven’t been truthful about the past and as she researches and talks to this unknown man, she realizes that she is the daughter of one of the “disappeared”, citizens who are mysteriously taken from homes and never seen again. It is her father who was dumped in the ocean from a plane along with many others who has visited her. The gradual unfolding of the Perla’s real identity and her subsequent reunion with her real grandparents is a very touching story about a very black period of Argentinian history. ( )
  brangwinn | Feb 29, 2016 |
" ...[a] story based on one of the darkest chapters in Argentinean history." reads like a young adult tale written by Daniele Steele. A sugar coated fairy tale, with a few dark elements as a backdrop. The main characters are cardboard cutouts, their depictions black and white, all good versus all evil, none of the subtle nuances of real people living actual, complex lives. What a shame, a book about this period could have been so much more. ( )
  DougJ110 | Mar 25, 2015 |
A really lovely book, beautifully written and unsparing in its account of the desaparecidos. Genuinely moving. ( )
  meredk | Sep 19, 2014 |
De Robertis’s second novel (after The Invisible Mountain, 2009) tackles head-on the lingering traumas left behind by Argentina’s state-sponsored regime of terror during the 1970s and ‘80s. In the opening pages, 22-year-old college student Perla, left home alone by vacationing parents, finds a naked man in her living room. He is dripping wet, smelling of rotting fish and seawater, and she can find no possible way he could have entered the home. Oddly, she is unafraid, though she knows perhaps she should be. As the rest of the novel unfolds, Perla and the naked man both reflect on their lives up to this point. Perla’s father, a man she loves with all the loyalty an only daughter can muster, is also a Naval officer and thus, one of the men responsible for the kidnappings and torture Argentina’s government perpetrated against its own citizens. She knows she should hate him, but cannot quite bring herself to do so. Her lover, an investigative journalist, has recently broached to her the idea that she herself was stolen as an infant from one of los desaparecidos¬—the disappeared. Rejecting the idea, she fled his arms and retreated home—only to be confronted by the naked wet man. That man, meanwhile, is finding his own memories returned to him slowly. In life, he was himself one of los desaparecidos, taken from his pregnant young wife and tortured mercilessly before being thrown from a plane into the ocean along with countless others. Why he has returned from the waters now, and why he has arrived in this home with this young woman, is something they must discover together.

With Perla, De Robertis has fully embraced the tradition of magical realism so representative of Central and South American literature. Lyrical even when describing the most horrific of torments endured by los desaparecidos, De Robertis’s novel is powerful and affecting in its clear-eyed examination of the lasting impacts of the dictatorship upon both the victims and also the perpetrators of its many horrors. ( )
  kmaziarz | Jun 23, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...
This ambitious narrative, largely told in flashbacks, is propulsive and emotionally gripping. De Robertis’s lyrical flights are grounded in the fulfillment of the most desperate wishes of disappeared parents and their children, culminating in a wrenching catharsis about rebirth and healing.
An elegantly written and affecting meditation on life in the wake of atrocity.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307599590, Hardcover)

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 disclose in a country still reeling from the abuses perpetrated by the deposed military dictatorship. Perla understands that her parents were on the wrong side of the conflict, but her love for her papá is unconditional. But when Perla is startled by an uninvited visitor, she begins a journey that will force her to confront the unease she has suppressed all her life, and to make a wrenching decision about who she is, and who she will become.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:21 -0400)

Set in Buenos Aires, "Perla" is 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.

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