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The Dark Bride: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 20, 2002


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My Struggle: Book Four
Eighteen-year-old Karl Ove moves to a tiny fishing village in the Arctic Circle to work as a school teacher. As the nights get longer, the shadow cast by his father's own sharply increasing alcohol consumption, also gets longer. Read the full description

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist, novelist, political activist and academic Restrepo (The Angel of Galilea; Leopard in the Sun) has written an innovative novel in the form of a journalist's investigation of a small Colombian oil town populated mostly by oil riggers and the prostitutes who service them. The narrator is a journalist who interviews a number of residents in the town of Tora, on the edge of the rain forest, in order to learn about the legendary prostitute Sayonara. The charismatic and irresistible daughter of a Guahibo Indian woman and a white man, Sayonara is the alpha whore of La Catunga, the barrio of prostitutes where the employees of the Tropical Oil Company come weekly to take their pleasure. Her downfall comes when she falls in love with two men, both workers with Tropical Oil. Sacramento she loves as a brother; Payanes as a lover. But Payanes is already married when they meet, and Sayonara considers marrying Sacramento, who desperately wants to save her from prostitution. Sayonara's story emerges through the lyrical voices of the interview subjects, as well as the more straightforward journalistic style of the narrator. Aphorisms abound ("The factory that smells the best is the most poisonous"), and the mostly evocative, textured prose has occasional moments of stiffness ("She was a bundle of scared chicken bones, anxious to find a connection to the world"). Still, it's hard not to get caught up in Restrepo's sexy, whirlwind narrative, which also reveals much about the effects of the global economy and Latin American politics on one small corner of Colombia. Agent, Thomas Colchie. (Aug. 1)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Restrepo (Leopard in the Sun) elegantly tells the story of a young girl looking for work as a prostitute in the oil-producing city of Tora, Colombia. Shortly after her arrival, she is renamed Sayonara, and from that day on, she stirs the souls of the prostitutes and the men in the barrio who take her into their lives. Over time, Sayonara becomes a legend, enjoying the affections of her customers. This all changes when she breaks the sacred rule of the business and falls in love and nothing can save her from her own infatuation. The novel is told from the perspective of a journalist who accidentally stumbles upon Sayonara's story. Through interviews with the people who came into contact with the exotic native beauty, a tragic and vivid love story unravels. Although the story moves slowly at times, Restrepo's poetic and humorous writing makes up for any dull moments. Recommended for all libraries. Sabrina Ferrer, formerly with "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (August 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006008894X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060088941
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #711,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Restrepo was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She has written numerous bestselling and prize-winning novels, including Leopard in the Sun, The Angel of Galilea, and Delirium. Her books have been published in over twenty languages.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By dltstl on October 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When I flipped this book over and saw that the blurbs on the back were by Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I knew this was going to be the book I read next.
The form of this book is journalistic--the narrator is a reporter doing research into the life of a mysterious and legendary young prostitute named Sayonara. Because the stories come filtered through the reporter and her interviews, there is some distance inherent in the tone. Yet because Sayonara changed every life she touched--including that of the reporter, who only comes to know her through a picture and stories--the passion of her story comes through, even secondhand.
The book is set in Colombia's oil fields and in the brothels of a nearby town. The focus of the narrative remains narrow, mining the intimacies of the lives of the prostitutes and oil workers who turn to them for comfort (and receive it, in all senses of the word) once a month.
Yet because their lives take place against the backdrop of the Columbian political and military situation, and the virtual colonization by American oil interests, there is another level to the story--at least insofar as all this affects the prostitutes and oilworkers.
Not everyone is going to like this book. There is no driving plot. Instead, we start with a loose frame of a story and then gradually fill in the details, layer by layer. But if you like a literary, richly detailed book with an unforgettable cast of unusual characters, this might just be the book for you.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
Under a shining moon in the Columbian jungle, the shabby village of La Catunga transforms itself to a place of merriment, music and beautiful women under the colored lights that connote the ladies' different nationalities. These women nightly await the petroleros, men who work for the American-owned Tropical Oil Company, who toil in the hot jungle during the days and spend their evenings drinking and seeking the favors of the women of La Catunga.

Columbia is the country of the Sacred Heart, common language peppered with references to a variety of saints, the Blessed Mother and the Sacred Heart; religion is wound tightly into a culture that must endure much and suffer greatly. Religion is hope, the promise of a better life after death. In sharp contrast to their religious beliefs, the women do what they must to survive and often all that is available to them is the sale of their bodies for the pleasure of men with a few coins in their pockets. These are businesswomen, who sell their bodies, rarely their hearts: "from the waist up is the soul, from the wait down is business." For the few who lose themselves in dreams of romance, only heartbreak awaits.

Sayonara arrives in the barrio with nothing but the clothes on her back. A cart driver delivers her to the door of the aging, but still beautiful, Todos los Santos, who takes the wild girl into her care, preparing her for a future as one of the most legendary of the women of the village; men will tremble with adoration at Sayonara's rare combination of helplessness and arrogance. Todos los Santos accepts the young girl willingly, recognizing the potential under the layers of dirt and wild blue-black hair that tumbles about the child, determined that this wild young creature might "prosper in the pursuit of survival".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful example of Latin-American writing. Restrepo's writing manages to challenge perceptions and biases while remaining an enchanting example of storytelling.
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