As someone who reads about 2-3 books a week, it is easy for me to become jaded by the books on the market right now. The hyped books rarely deliver, particularly in the literary category, yet The Neruda Case turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The subject matter, dealing with Chile, Cuba, East Berlin and Bolivia in the tumultuous seventies, was fascinating and the tidbits about Neruda (I admit I am a fan) delightful. What I liked best, was Ampuero's frequent ruminations as expressed through his very likeable, very intelligent and observant protagonist, Catelano Brule. Ampuero succeeds in bringing characters to life as well as the countries they visit. While many novels fail nowadays with their political high-handedness and political pressure tactics, Ampuero offers a balanced, more philosophical (although some may find it cynical) view of politics and history through Brule's POV. I found Brule endearing, and enjoyed his observations about life, food, wine, poetry, and revolutionaries, as much as I did the mystery he wove. At times, particularly in the use of dialogue, I felt the translation (or the writing) fell short, but the narrative translation was poetic and beautiful. I would recommend The Neruda Case to anyone interested in the effects of politics on individual life and liberty, poetry and its relationship to reality, and philosophical questions about life, meaning, reality, the role of disguise in life, and identity. This literary mystery was thought-provoking and a worthwhile read. I only wish more of Ampuero's work was translated! For those wanting a traditional page-turning, impossible to put down mystery, this book is not for you. Rather, it is a tale to be savored, much like Neruda's poetry. Ampuero brought Chile alive for me and made me want to visit despite some of the tragic political events described. He is a sensual writer with a deep sensibility and connection to profound ideas.