Shantytown

“Shantytown” by César Aira (Argentina) Review There were mixed reactions to this novella-length story with some readers finding it charming and magical, while others described it as strange or unusual, and one reader liked it the least of all the books she’d read so far in the book club. At 160 pages, everyone agreed it was a quick and easy read. They loved the descriptions … Continue reading Shantytown

One Hundred Years of Solitude

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia) Synopsis Equally tragic, joyful and comical, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” inhabits a strange dream-like space where very little makes real sense, but everything is mysteriously and vividly alive nonetheless. Blending fantasy and reality seamlessly, the characters struggle hopelessly against a merciless backdrop of madness, corruption and death… all measured out equally with farce and … Continue reading One Hundred Years of Solitude

The Discreet Hero

“The Discreet Hero” by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru) Review Once confusion with the alternating narratives in the novel had passed, readers became very involved with both stories. They found them compelling, and liked the combination of intrigue and entertainment that are played out by a rich cast of characters. They didn’t particularly warm to the two protagonists but felt that they grabbed their sympathy, while … Continue reading The Discreet Hero

In the Beginning Was the Sea

“In the Beginning Was the Sea” by Tomás González (Colombia) Review Despite the fact that some readers liked the book while others didn’t, everyone agreed that it was an easy read. With short chapters and at just over 150 pages long, readers zipped through what some described as a well-written, depressing modern-day fable. They liked the setting and felt that the author manages to convey a … Continue reading In the Beginning Was the Sea

The Ventriloquist’s Tale

“The Ventriloquist’s Tale” by Pauline Melville (Guyana) Review Readers described the book as interesting, fascinating and beautifully written. They found it easy to get into and felt that it broached serious topics in a light manner. They liked the parallels between the past and the present, between the modern and primitive worlds, and liked the historical context and insights into the Amerindian culture and life. … Continue reading The Ventriloquist’s Tale

Ripper

“Ripper” by Isabel Allende (Chile)  Review From a first novel to a first attempt at a new genre by a well-known writer, this year’s Summer Reading selection of crime fiction covered a wide range of writing styles. “Ripper” is Allende’s first attempt at crime fiction and most readers agreed that she should stick with magic realism. Although they felt that the writing was superior to … Continue reading Ripper

Hour of the Star

“Hour of the Star” by Clarice Lispector (Brazil) Review Challenging, frustrating, meditative and surrealistic were some of the adjectives that readers used to describe this modern classic. They found it difficult to get into and agreed that it needed more than one reading. They called it a thinking book and would not recommend it for escapism. The multi-layered narration was challenging for some readers, who … Continue reading Hour of the Star