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The Neruda Case: A Novel Hardcover – June 14, 2012
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Within the story of Cayetano's mission for Neruda, author Roberto Ampuero incorporates both the historical and contemporary history of Valparaiso and the political turmoil that roiled the country from the 1970s - 1990s. A ferocious earthquake in 1906 killed three thousand people and devastated the city, and in 1914 the Panama Canal opened and permanently ended Valparaiso's prosperity as a resupply stop for trips around Cape Horn. By 1971, President Salvador Allende, in the second year of his term, is the first Marxist ever to be elected president in open elections, and now, in 1973, Cayetano, his wife, and Neruda are ardent supporters, their politics representing an unusual point of view for most western readers.
As Cayetano tries to fulfill his task for Neruda, he travels throughout Mexico, Cuba, East Germany, and Bolivia, interviewing people from teachers to archivists. He is desperate to help Neruda, who is obviously dying of cancer. Dr.Read more ›
The Neruda Case has a few things going against it, for many english-speaking readers:
It's a translation from Spanish.
It is a prequel, written in 2008 after a series of five Cayetano Brulé mysteries (not translated into English, so we don't know the character):
(1993), ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann?
(1994), Boleros en La Habana
(1996), El alemán de Atacama
(2004), Cita en el Azul Profundo (novela policial)
(2005), Halcones de la noche
It's a really ambitious book, attempting to
1. Provide a backstory for the detective Cayetano Brulé
2. Incorporate the life, loves and poetry of Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda
3. Re-examine leftist thought and culture of the 1970s
4. Portray the idealism and tragedy of the brief Allende reform government
5. Explore the broader history of all Latin America, from pre-Columbian times to the present
6. And, of course, tell a mystery story.
For me, the best parts of the book were its historical elements; this is a great historical novel, immersing the reader in a specific time and place.
I learned a lot reading this book. It broadened my perspective.
I also liked the rich sensory detail, the feel and sound and scent of the cities Cayetano visits in his international quest, the way coffee tastes different in different cultures.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a book that defies characterization to a certain extent. In its most basic form, it's a detective novel. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Kindle Customer
I loved this book not only the mystery. I chose the book because I had visited Valparaiso Chile recently and toured Neruda’s home, La Sebastiana. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nelda Brangwin
I've spent quite a bit of time in Valparaiso, and have visited Neruda's Isla Negra and La Sebastiana. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Christine Sleeter
Ampuero’s novel, The Neruda Case, is divided into five parts, each one named after a woman whom Pablo Neruda is involved with over his lifetime, either as mistress or spouse. Read morePublished 21 months ago by RNJ
If you are interested about the historic 1973 military coup to Allende's government in Chile
and Pablo Neruda's life loves, this will be an eye opening fictional narrative.
Shows a lot about the situation in Chile during the last days of Salvador Allende. Brule gets into the list of my favorite detectives like Carvalho and Montalbano.Published on March 10, 2014 by Jose Bellora
The Neruda case is an unusual mystery. The background is helpful in educating the reader. It seems the author has much in common with the Nobel prize winner, Neruda.Published on February 2, 2014 by Annanelle Hardt
I bought this book after I finished reading the Ruiz Zafon trilogy books (angels game, shadow of the wind, prisoners heaven). Read morePublished on July 25, 2013 by Jess
It was well written and the main character of the story was interesting in that he had a conscience and still believed in the honor system of keeping his word. Read morePublished on July 20, 2013 by IL book worm