By Carolina De Robertis
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307744173, 256pp.)
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
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From the author of the international bestseller, The Invisible Mountain, comes Perla, a coming-of-age story based on one of the darkest chapters in Argentinean history.
Growing up as a privileged only child in Buenos Aires, Perla Correa learned early on not to discuss the profession of her naval officer father in a country still reeling from the abuses of a deposed military dictatorship. But when an uninvited visitor appears in Perla’s home, this encounter sets her on 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.
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.
- Why do you think the author paired a quote from Moby-Dick with one from the former commander of the Argentine army for her epigraph?
“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.”