Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307599599, 256pp.
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
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.
“This is one of those books that couldn’t be timelier, more beautiful, or more wrenching. One young woman’s journey into the dark heart of Argentina’s Dirty War. De Robertis is an extraordinarily courageous writer who only gets better with every book.” —Junot Díaz, Latina Magazine
“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.” —Meredith Maran, Chicago Tribune
“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.” —Cindy Wolfe Boynton, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“De Robertis holds the reader’s attention with her entrancingly rhythmic and pulsating prose. . . [her] voice is distinctive and her novel vivid and memorable.” —Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
“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.” —Marla Southgate, The San Francisco Chronicle
“Mesmerizing. . . a moving, poetic novel about the costs of revolution and the evolutionary process that is identity.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“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.” —Herta B. Freely, 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.” —Annie Bostrom, Booklist (starred review)
“An elegantly written and affecting meditation on life in the wake of atrocity.” —Kirkus Reviews