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Perla (Vintage Contemporaries) [Kindle Edition]

Carolina De Robertis
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“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


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.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1274 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 258 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: B00F7QMQ1I
  • Verlag: Vintage (27. März 2012)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B005IEH7VS
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • : Nicht aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #252.441 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Gutes gebrauchtes Buch 13. September 2014
Von Kea
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Das Buch ist OK, jedoch ohne Schmutzumschlag und die Seiten sind nicht richtig geschnitten. Der Aufkleber des Buchhändlers lässt sich leider nicht ohne Beschädigung des Rückens lösen.
Aber sonst in gutem Zustand.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Argentina's Dirty War Gets Its Literary Masterpiece 5. März 2012
Von HardyBoy64 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
*Possible Spoilers*

There have been many literary manifestations born out of Argentina's Dirty War (1976-82). Liliana Heker's Fin de La Historia, El (B) (Spanish Edition) is an excellent novel about two young women who have to come to grips with their oppossing views of the conflict. Juan Gelman wrote some beautiful poetry memorializing his missing son and daughter-in-law. Laura Restrapo's DEMASIADOS HEROES (Spanish Edition)explores some interesting aspects of the conflict, but ultimately fails as a memorable portrayal.Purgatorio (Spanish Edition) by Tomás Eloy Martínez also explores questions of survival guilt and memory. Elena Cabrejas's novel Algo Habran Hecho (Spanish Edition) is a moving and quite realistic story of the famous missing French nuns. There have also been some questionable novels that use the Dirty War as a historical backdrop but that completely fail in probing the depths of the historical time period and come across as hollow and meaningless (ie. The Unforgivable).

I list all these other novels because as a student of the Dirty War and its portrayal in literature, I have been waiting for a long time for a novel to come along that might capture the heavy weight of the time period, with all the social implications, and yet demonstrate a poetic vision far from the constraints of realism. While there are many good novels about the time period, I have been waiting for that novel that addresses the brutality of the time period in an artistic way, waiting for that novel that makes me feel the emotion of the time period as well as teach me about it. My wait is over.

PERLA is a gorgeous novel about the very heart of the Dirty War: the missing. The victims of the military dictatorship get a voice, a real hero who speaks out for them. The ghost figure is a homage to the fable-like writing of the magical realism literary style. He is memory, love, pain and anguish encarnate. The protagonist Perla goes through the predictable coming to terms with her identity in the novel, but the beautiful way that Carolina de Robertis dresses up this painful yet powerful enlightenment is what makes this novel true literature. The irony of her name does not go unnoticed, as "La Perla" was one of the most infamous concentration camps of the dictatorship. Like the camp, Perla herself is a place of torture as de Robertis takes the reader through her mental anguish in coming to grips with the truth of who she is. The reader feels her liberation at the end, literally escaping her own internal concentration camp. And like Perla the character, Buenos Aires has to recover from the time period as well. It's as if De Robertis were writing for the desaparecidos as well as for the soul of Buenos Aires, that beautiful city that has seen so much suffering. The prose is so poignant at times that I found myself rereading sentences, as one would reread a poem over and over.

The content is often brutal and there are episodes of sexuality that could have been toned down a bit. One has to remember, however, that the brutality of stealing babies from their mothers is a disturbing figurative rape of the mother's rights and while thematically these strong moments of the novel make perfect sense and there is nothing overtly gratuitous, I do recognize that these harsh themes may not be for all readers.

In my opinion, and I have read many novels about Argentina's Dirty War, Perla is the masterpiece.
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An Absolute Masterpiece 2. März 2012
Von Jill I. Shtulman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
If Perla was a theatrical production, I'd jump to my feet, applaud and shout "brava!" This visceral reaction - that something very special has just been experienced - is precisely how I felt upon closing the last page of this spellbinding book.

Where do I even begin? Perhaps with the title: Perla is a college-aged young woman whose father, a Navy Officer, was on the wrong side of the heinous Argentina Dirty Wars. During those wars, many innocent people simply disappeared; they were drugged and thrown out of airplanes, never to be seen again. At the book's beginning, Perla discovers that one of The Disappeared - a ghost, quite literally - has somehow found his way into her home.

There are plot twists to this coupling, surely, but it is not those twists that make this novel stand out. Ms. De Robertis explores something far more vital: what happens when a person we love has been the instrument of pain and suffering? How do we reconcile his heinous acts with the person who loves and nurtures us? What responsibilities do we have to him, to society in general, and most of all, to ourselves? Or, in Perla's own words, how can one move forward when "the crimes of my father-the crimes of the nation, also, crimes to which I had not given words -settled on me, rode my back drooped my shoulders, stuck to me and refused to wipe away."

Perla is forced into a delicate dance of trying to understand her father, extricate herself, potentially be his salvation as her father demands "absolution or amnesia or, at the very least, for continued love." Her inner journey to claim her place in the world - her very identity - leads to birth and a rebirth and connects her with who she is meant to be and who she will become.

In confident prose that reads like elegiac poetry, Ms. De Robertis creates word images that are downright exquisite. I often went back and read lines twice or three times, marveling at their beauty. And when I reached the end, I broke down in sobs, not because of a manufactured sad ending but because the story was so very powerful. I haven't had that reaction since reading Toni Morrison's Beloved. This masterpiece tackles all the big parts of life: love, suffering, redemption, identity, the need of belonging, and how we connect to each other. Although Ms. De Robertis has her own distinct voice, it called to mind the power of Jenny Erpenbeck's works and she is one of the authors I hold in highest regard. If I could give it 10 stars, I gladly would.
11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Perla - the long-awaited phenomenal English-language novel of Argentina's Dirty War 4. April 2012
Von Bronwyn - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Let me begin by stating that reading this book had the same effect on me as visiting places like ESMA (the oft-mentioned clandestine detention center in the novel) or similar memory sites in Chile (which, like Argentina, also suffered under a bloody military dictatorship), such as Villa Grimaldi. I was left with the same emotions that I carried whenever I visited those places, meaning that oftentimes, while reading this book, I would have to take a break, get something to drink, go walk around, etc., because everything about it was just *too much.*

Let me also say that, until now, no book has ever made me break out in sobs in the middle of reading it.

Anyway, PERLA was positively phenomenal and far exceeded the already very high expectations that I had for it (I was already huge fan of de Robertis' debut THE INVISIBLE MOUNTAIN). When I saw that de Robertis was writing a novel about the desaparecidos (the disappeared) of Argentina, I started counting down the days until its release. The phenomenon of the extreme right-wing Cold War-era dictatorships in the Southern Cone (including the dictatorship in Argentina - the "National Reorganization Process") is a subject I've studied for years and, for the longest time, I've been thirsting for a truly excellent English-language novel about this subject. PERLA is it, and far more.

I won't rehash the plot, because that's what the book blurb is for (I also don't want to give away any spoilers, but if you are in any way familiar with the history of the Dirty War, you'll catch onto what Perla's "secret" is very early into the book). Instead I'll list some of the main things I loved about this book. Firstly, everyone was so real (character-wise). There were no cardboard cutouts representing particular viewpoints (when in cases like this, is really easy to do), whether that be the former Naval officer and his wife or the left-wing journalist boyfriend. Rather everyone, no matter who they are, was instead a fleshed-out human being, with both good and bad qualities. On this same note, de Robertis' portrayal of Perla's inner struggle is done very well and in a very realistic fashion.

Another thing I will commend de Robertis on is her portrayal of the oftentimes gut-wrenching scenes from the "mysterious houseguest's" point of view. I believe there is a fine line between staying true to what is historically accurate (and some extremely brutal things definitely happened to people who were made to disappear in Argentina) and gore and torture for the sake of gore and torture (aka "torture porn"). De Robertis, unlike many people, succeeded. I felt these scenes conveyed the true nature of the brutality during that era (as in, they did not soften it to make it more palatable to readers), but at the same time, I felt that she wrote these scenes in a respectful way that didn't want to include violence and gore for, well, the sake of violence and gore. This speaks very strongly of de Robertis' ability as a writer, because only very talented writers can pull this off, I believe. That being said, they were still extremely painful and difficult to read, even for me (and I've read tons of pretty graphic survivors testimonies from this time).

Lastly, I will say that it was so refreshing to read a book on this subject by someone who obviously knows the city of Buenos Aires and this particular period of Argentina's history. Too often, when I read novels about this subject, it is painfully apparent that the author has just skimmed the Wikipedia page on the Dirty War and has relied too heavily on the phenomenon of a repressive government disappearing people (which happened before the National Reorganization Process and continues to happen to this day, i.e. it is not something unique to Argentina) to fuel their story. I applaud de Robertis for her incredible and 110% accurate descriptions of Buenos Aires (I've spent a somewhat significant amount of time there and can attest to practically everything she says). I also loved, loved, LOVED how she included cultural tidbits of the time as well (i.e. she talks about Sui Generis, a popular Simon and Garfunkel-esque band in Argentina during the 1970s), which really shows that she knows what she's talking about.

Other notes:
- I loved the use of water as a reoccurring motif, the fact that the spirit was of the water and the water accompanied him wherever he went. I also loved how the "mysterious houseguest" was consistently thirsty (because one of the side effects of the electric shocks that were used as torture was extreme thirst - only you couldn't drink anything or else your insides would explode) and always wanted Perla to "feed" him water.

- The structure. It is non-linear, but I was absolutely in love with it and felt that it worked well for the story. The structure was actually one of my favorite parts of this book, because it kept you wanting to read, even if, like me, you'd already guessed the "secret" early on.

- At first I had trouble following the narrative as it shifted from Perla's POV to the spirit's POV, but it became easier the more I got engrossed in the story. It wasn't a problem at all after 2-3 chapters or so.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen A well told story about matters of the heart 15. März 2012
Von moose_of_many_waters - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Just so you know where I'm coming from, I'm a guy, a fairly typical guy. I like things that guys tend to like. Baseball. Plain straightforward prose. Stories with big ideas. OK, I deviate from the typical guy likes in that I have a soft spot for opera and musicals. I have, in fact, cried during certain performances of Butterfly and Carmen. But that's not because I have a soft spot for love stories alone; it's because I have a soft spot for love stories set to music. Throw away the music and I'm back in guy mode watching March Madness on my TV and fretting over my brackets.

Enough background. On to this book. Perla is actually a pretty good novel in terms of construction. It's a step up over a similar book I read recently, Sarah's Key. It's better written. There is a real plot. I thought I might like this book quite a bit because the plot revolves around the stolen children of Argentina's Dirty War, a subject of great interest to me (I have relatives who lived through that war). But ultimately this novel isn't about the Dirty War. It's about matters of the heart, in particular the matters of a heart of a young Argentinean woman. The prose is florid. The plot is pretty much the over-heightened stuff of opera. An operatic treatment of this story just might be the ticket. But without music, stories like this sag for me. I think Perla will sag for most guys, opera-lovers or no.

There is an audience for this book, a solid one. I know just the person I'm going to give this book to next: my mother-in-law. Yes, I like my mother-in-law. I'm not trying to torture her, honest. She loves stories like this, solidly written novels with a female narrator dealing with love in its many dimensions. If you're that type of reader, I'm guessing you'll like this book quite a bit. It's not as good as Ann Patchett at her best (I have a soft spot for Bel Canto), but it is less overwrought than books like this from Ann Packer. Perla is an easy four hour read and the prose flows well.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen De Robertis is a literary genuis; Perla is a masterpiece 29. März 2012
Von David Seaman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
When I first began to read "Perla" by Carolina De Robertis (author of "The invisible Mountain") I knew little about Argentina's horrific military war that began in 1976 in which a dictator was overthrown and hundreds of thousands of people were killed, but after reading this work of fiction i want to know everything I can about it. Agentina's political history is wwell doccumented in art, theatre and literature and this book, "Perla" makes "Evita" seem like "Mary Poppins" and "Starlight Express."

The book centers around a young college student named Perla who is, in no small surprise, a psychology student and the daughter of a Naval Officer from that coup- and a Naval Officer from the wrong side. A stranger, in the most unlikely way, appears in Perla's living room one evening and this begins a string of events- almost all internal for those film makers who will begin to line up - where her journey b egins. There are a plkethora of books about the internal search and discovery: "The Poisonwood Bible", "To Kill A Mockinbird" even "Gone With The Wind' and better yet "The Color Purple." This book is written so beautifully, so elegantly and eloquently that is deserving of both The National Book Award and The Pulitzer Prize. there is the perfect balance of fairy tale magic, the surprise as our perception of characters are alterred (in the same way that Perla's perception is changed) and the mysterious man who appears to her while she is chopping vegetables alone in her home one evening. Every choice of word is carefully chosen, every sentence flows into another and De Robertis is able to write in contrassting words within a single sentence or paragraph so that we're reminded, without her hitting us on the head, the this entire book is about conflict and resolve.

De Robertis writes about the execution of a man at the hands of a preist:

"The priest smiled sadly. God knows this is all for the good of the country.

"The hood went down, the machine began anain and THE LORD IS WITH YOU everything seared with light and O YE OF LITTLE FAITH his skin his skin burst open in gashes of pain and THY WILL BE DONE he screamed and screamed but not to God, God wouldn;t wouldn;t hear him, He was gone, He was on the side of the captors and their will was now His will... God himself was a descaparecido."

Not since William Styron's "Sophie's Choice" have words been placed together so powerfully. "Perla" is one of the finest novels I've read in years; the beauty, the growth and the internal questions that it asks of it's readers are both beautiful and life changing.

So I will study up on this period of South American history. Those of you who don't know already will feel the same; those of you who are students of this war will ingest this novel like the breaking of a fast. This book will win awards. This book will change your life.
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