Wednesday, May 16, 2012

book review: Perla by Carolina De Robertis

The basics: When a mysterious figure arrives at Perla's home in Buenos Aires, she must confront Argentina's Dirty War, the role of her parents in it, and what it means for her.

My thoughts: When I began this novel, I was immediately struck by the power and beauty of the writing. De Robertis writes with strength and smoothness. Her words commanded the page and transported me into the world of Perla. The line between reality and magical realism was not immediately clear, which helped draw me into this fascinating world even more quickly. I soon discovered I cared more about the journey of Perla than where magical realism began.

In many ways, Perla is a coming of age story. The novel is largely told in flashbacks as Perla and this mysterious houseguest talk she revisits childhood memories for clues of what was really happening in Argentina. Perla's journey is both personal and an doorway into a fascinating and troubling piece of Argentinian history.

Favorite passage:  "There’s that feeling that comes when you read something and the lines speak directly to you, and to you only, even though the person who wrote them died long before you were born, or, even if alive, has no idea you exist. The words seep right into your mind. They pour into your secret hollow and take their shape, a perfect fit, like water. And you are slightly less alone in the universe, because you have been witnessed, because you have been filled, because someone once found words for things within you that you couldn’t yourself name--something gesturing not only toward what you are, but what you could become. In that sense, books raise you, in a way your parents can’t. They emancipate you."

The verdict: De Robertis writes with lyricism and grace. Perla's journey in this novel is moving, but what keeps this novel from achieving perfection is the power of the writing outshines the story itself at times.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 236 pages
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Perla from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version.)

Want more? Visit all of the tour stops, Carolina's website, follow her on Twitter, or see her on Facebook.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

12 comments:

  1. I loved this book also and had the same favorite passage.

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  2. I love the way you put that. "The writing outshines the story itself sometimes". That is such a powerful statement, and one that I have tried to express several times, with much less success. Very impacting review today. I really loved it.

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    1. Thanks, Zibilee. The book was so unique. It's rare I'm more transported by the language than story, and some will love it,

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  3. I loved this book...it is so well done.

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  4. Oh, wow, love that quote. I'm adding Perla to my TBR. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That quote is so good, and there are many more that are more filled with spoilers.

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  5. Ooh I'm on this tour and am really looking forward to reading this!! I think I'll be okay with the writing outshining the story as long as the writing is really good and the story is still almost as good, lol. And I've been really interested in learning more about Argentina in that time frame anyway, and apparently I enjoy coming of age novels, hehe. I love that quote you included.

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    1. I didn't know much about that time in Argentinian history either, and in many ways Perla's discoery of the 'real history mimicked mine.

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  6. This is a time period that I definitely need to read more about since I only know the very basics.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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    1. Heather--It was fascinating to see more of this time period.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!