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The Invisible Mountain (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – August 10, 2010
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From the verdant hills of Rio de Janeiro to Evita Perón’s glittering Buenos Aires, from the haven of a corner butcher shop to the halls of the United States Embassy in Montevideo, this gripping novel—at once expansive and lush with detail—examines the intertwined fates of a continent and a family in upheaval. The Invisible Mountain is a deeply intimate exploration of the search for love and authenticity in the lives of three women, and a penetrating portrait of the small, tenacious nation of Uruguay, shaken by the gales of the twentieth century.
On the first day of the year 1900, a small town deep in the Uruguayan countryside gathers to witness a miracle—the mysterious reappearance of a lost infant, Pajarita—and unravel its portents for the century. Later, as a young woman in the capital city—Montevideo, brimming with growth and promise—Pajarita begins a lineage of fiercely independent women with her enamored husband, Ignazio, a young immigrant from Italy and the inheritor of both a talent for boat making and a latent, more sinister family trait. Their daughter, Eva, a fragile yet ferociously stubborn beauty intent on becoming a poet, overcomes an early, shattering betrayal to embark on a most unconventional path toward personal and artistic fulfillment. And Eva’s daughter, Salomé, awakening to both her sensuality and political convictions amid the violent turmoil of the late 1960s, finds herself dangerously attracted to a cadre of urban guerrilla rebels, despite the terrible consequences of such principled fearlessness.
Provocative, heartbreaking and ultimately life-affirming, The Invisible Mountain is a poignant celebration of the potency of familial love, the will to survive in the most hopeless of circumstances, and, above all, the fierce, fortifying connection between mother and daughter.A Q&A with Carolina De Robertis
(Photo © Joanne Chan)--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Pajarita begins the novel, an unwanted baby whose mother died in childbirth. Her tale has its roots in magic, as she is lost as an infant and then found again in a tree high above her village. Her story becomes a sacred family legend, repeated to children and grandchildren throughout the years. Pajarita's marriage is rocky at times, but succeeds in producing three sons and a daughter.
Eva, daughter of Pajarita, is forced out of childhood early, sent to work at the age of ten. She is shattered, pulls herself back together, and escapes her life only to be shattered anew. Her marriage is more for convenience than anything else, but blesses her with a son and a daughter, whom she loves with all of her being. Unlike her mother, who communes with plants and soothes the ills of those around her, Eva takes solace in words and poetry bursts forth from her, enlightening and scandalizing those around her.
Salome, daughter of Eva, finds herself electrified by the rebellion overtaking Uruguay and secretly joins the resistance. It is a choice which eventually carries a terrible price.
I really liked these women and their individual strength and dedication to their families. I was disappointed that there were no equally strong and noble male characters in this book, though; it seemed that men were constantly villains, from the abusive or alcoholic husbands and fathers to the oppressive and sexually abusive bosses, to the intolerant or ignorant elders, to the chronically disappearing brothers. Surely there must have been some worthy men in the lives of these women.Read more ›
While the author creates strong, memorable female characters and fully developed settings in representations of Montevideo and Buenos Aires, there are a few problems. The development of a character's anti-Peronist sentiments and their basis is glossed over in a scant few pages, and those sentiments are critical to a major plot point which felt insufficiently motivated. That character has experienced nothing but abuse and abandonment at the hands of men, and with this one act she cruelly and thoughtlessly alienates the one man who was good to her. In the book's third section, the author does much better when showing where a character's political beliefs took form, even at a very young age. However, it still felt unbelievable when two thirteen-year-olds are on the phone, exchanging lines such as "the government has broken off diplomatic relations with Cuba." Certainly history has shown that kids are fascinated with leaders from John F. Kennedy to Osama bin Laden, but it always seems to be the cult of personality that beguiles and not the complicated politics.
There is still much to commend. A subplot involving a transgender character is handled with loving understanding. Details of life in a horrible prison are convincing and disturbing.Read more ›
De Robertis did a wonderful job developing each woman within the woman's specific section. She artfully told Uruguay's history about the rise of the Tupamaros, the horrors brought by the military rule, and the democratization of Uruguay. The description of Eva's imprisonment during the military regime continues to haunt me. I also enjoyed catching a brief glimpse of Argentina under Peron's rule and the early years of the Cuban Castro regime.
I wish that de Robertis would have continued to detail some of the thoughts of the previously developed main character(s) in each new section of the book. At the end of Pajarita's section, I wanted to continue reading the book to learn more about Pajarita as well as the second section's main character, Eva. The second section, however, described Eva but subjugated Pajarita's character to an afterthought. Likewise, Eva and Pajarita's stories were both an afterthought in Salome's section. The magical portion of the book added some color to the plots, but my interest in the book did not pique until de Robertis began focusing more on the story and less on magical innuendos. Finally, de Robertis explored many themes, which include childhood rape, transgender love, and adoption; however, she only used a few pages to discuss each of these complex issues that should have been more fully developed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite books of all time. I've read it three times and never tire of the gorgeous writing, unforgettable characters, historical accuracy and a setting that places me... Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. Livingston
Excellent novel giving a history of Uruguay seen through the eyes of a family.Published 3 months ago by chris Taylor-Michaels
This is a novel about a family history revolving around three strong women. It’s a look at a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter and travels between Buenos Aires Argentina and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nelda Brangwin
I listened to this book on CD. The person narrating it was excellent and I couldn't wait to listen to it every day (I only listen when I'm in my car). Read morePublished 11 months ago by Cha Cha Ping Ping
Wonderful language, touched me deeply, historically informative, loved it!Published 11 months ago by krautkoff
This was a wonderful read. An epic story of women across several generations Ina little known country Uruguay that went through a painful history. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Michael Egholm
The author is clearly a gifted storyteller and I was honored to have the opportunity to read this story and become totally engaged with its characters. Read morePublished on February 26, 2014 by C.L.Brown
Carolina de Robertis writes a powerful novel about three generations of women. Interweaving magical realism with the real history of Uruguay and Argentina, De Robertis constructs a... Read morePublished on February 18, 2014 by Morrigan Alexandros