The Dark Bride
By Laura Restrepo
(Ecco, Hardcover, 9780060088941, 368pp.)
Publication Date: September 1, 2002
List Price: $24.95*
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Already an international bestseller, Laura Restrepo's transcendent new novel is now available in the United States.
One of the most provocative writers to emerge from the rich Latin American literary scene, Laura Restrepo is an author whose sensuous mix of realism and imaginative storytelling has made her an international bestseller. Her newest work, The Dark Bride, is a slyly humorous yet poignant love story. It was sparked by a photograph (shown on the jacket) taken by the late Colombian master, Leo Matix, of a sensual woman shrouded in mystery. Restrepo discovered the photo unexpectedly during her investigation into the rapacious workings of an American-controlled Columbian oil company and was immediately compelled to imagine the subject's life through a novel.
Using a series of subtly textured interviews, Restrepo's journalist protagonist mines a rich trove of characters -- fortune hunters, guerrilla chiefs, refinery workers, and prostitutes -- who, together with the narrator, attempt to decipher the impulsive and mysterious life of the young Sayonara, the unlikely heroine of The Dark Bride. Drawn like an exotic moth to work beneath on of the colored lights of La Catunga, the local house of prostitution, Sayonara is enigmatic and arrogant beyond her years. Her Indian origins a puzzle, she is transformed by her sage madam, the surprisingly maternal Todos los Santos, into the queen of her squalid Colombian barrio. Each month, Sayonara charms the oil workers of the Tropical Oil Company, who have journeyed down from the mountains searching for some earthly bliss. But it is not just oil workers who are captivated by Sayonara. She is also the flame that draws an unpredictable mix of haunting characters into the tragicomic obsession that is her life -- from Sacramento, the childhood playmate who is determined to rescue Sayonara from her unorthodox life, to the stranger Payanes, who is her one true love and carries secrets of his own. Sayonara is the Dark Bride who subtly reveals a personal and political universe forever marked by her passing.
Perceptive, richly detailed, yet effortlessly told, The Dark Bride is luminous and unforgettable.