A Review: The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero

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A Review:

The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero

08.05.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

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Category: Fiction, Mystery

Author: Roberto Ampuero

Format: Trade Paperback,  342 pages

Publisher: Riverhead Books, imprint of Penguin Books

ISBN: 978-1-59448-743-9

Pub Date: July 3, 2012

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The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero is a fictional mystery novel surrounding the investigating requested by the famous poet, Pablo Neruda, to the main character, Cayetano Brulé, to search for an unknown medical scientist named Ángel Bracamonte in hopes of what is assumed to be a medical cure and breakthrough for Cancer.

Pablo Neruda. (c) tvtypes.org

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 Though the backdrop of the novel is lush in its description of Valparaíso and the Latin American setting, food, and culture, it is also heavily laden with politics during the socialist reign of President Salvador Allende that ends with the coup d’état and dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

Valparaiso, Chile.

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And behind the story and search by Neruda-imposed investigator, Brulé, is the revelation of Pablo Neruda’s obsession with women and what his own personal friends have described as “serial monogamy.”

Maria Anonieta Hagenaar Vogelzang, Pablo Neruda’s wife.

Though the premise of the story could make for a compelling story, especially for one who admires Neruda’s politics or poetry, actually falls short in its exhaustive narrative style, which had in my opinion, far too many characters and character names to remain clear and transparent.

The reading felt much like a confusing clutter of thoughts, actions, and politics that told a story rather than effectively showed one, which made for a labour-intensive read and an inevitable distant relationship between reader and narrator and narrative.

Aside from a few snippets of wise advise found in the examples of:

“Love, Don Pablo, I’m asking whether you still believe in love.”

“Don’t be naïve, young man. That’s a lifelong thing.” – p. 156

“Existence is nothing more than a damn succession of disguises and good-byes, a journey brimming with traps and disappointments that impels you to make mistakes and then boasts an elephant’s memory, not forgiving a single slip,” – p. 232

the novel fails to leave a long-lasting impression.

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Zara’s Rating

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A special thank you to Penguin Books for providing me with an ARC of the book in exchange for an unpaid and honest review.

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Are you familiar with Pablo Neruda’s poems?

Which one is your favourite?

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Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon: Wicked Summer Cover Challenge! 08.05.2012

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Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon:

Wicked Summer Cover Challenge!

08.05.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
The challenge is to find book covers with the following items! Here’s what I’ve found:
Sun
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A Teeny Bikni
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Beach Umbrella
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Sandcastle
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Oceanscape or Beach Scene
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Sunflower
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An American flag (4th of July)
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Lemonade/Iced Tea
(Okay, so let’s just say this is a very adult iced tea…)
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Sunset
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Sailboat
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Camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, etc.)
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Sunglasses
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Swimming Pool
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Sunbather
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Picnic 
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Thanks to Wickedly Bookish for hosting this challenge!
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For more posts on the Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon, you can visit here.
Zara Alexis

Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon! Hotter than Summer Challenge. 08.05.2012

Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon!

Hotter than Summer Challenge

08.05.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

What’s hotter than the searing sun on a 40+ degree summer day? Not much except a freshly grilled sirloin… and perhaps these faint-worthy, fictional male characters in some of the books I’ve read this year so far.

The great thing about reading fiction is that you are free to imagine what characters look like (if they aren’t already on the front cover) and to decide for yourself what is considered “hot!”

But, I’m not one to judge primarily on looks alone and tend to gravitate more towards men with great character.

Because of the challenge’s requirement that books be read within 2012, my choice of men may surprise you!

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Benny from The Rest Is Silence by Scott Fotheringham

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What Benny looks like to me:

Model, Daniel A. (c) http://www.models.com

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My review.

My “heat” rating:

Benny is not only a passionate and sensitive lover, but a man of a deep and turbulent past that he was able to overcome through his equally passionate concern for the environment. Not only is he a true nature lover and one to build himself a cottage in the middle of nowhere with his own hands, he is a character born of gifted intelligence and a courageous resilience to master his fear and the elements.

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Man from the North in The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

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What the Man from the North looks like to me:

Blonde model stock photo. (c) 123rf.com

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My “heat” rating:

The Man of the North is imprisoned as a slave in the novel based on his cultural background, but that doesn’t stop him from being a great man of physical and emotional strength as he restrains himself from anger and decides to choose forgiveness over hatred and hope over despair.

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Grant Hastings of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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What Grant Hastings looks like to me:

Model, Shane S. (c) http://www.models.com

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My “heat” rating:

What’s hotter than a young man who is mature beyond his years, has the ability to love without condition, knows how to cook a succulent meal, and knows the symbolism and meaning of flowers?

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Marco in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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What Marco looks like to me:

Model, Jeremiah L. (c) http://www.models.com

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My review.

My “heat” rating:

Marco is both known for his attractive looks, elusive nature, and for his rare gift to create illusions in the minds of  other people. He is passionate about his talent, but even more passionate about his nemesis, Celia Bowen, of which they share an “out-of-this-world” romance.

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My “heat” rating is conservative because no one rates as high as my passionate, faithful, and loving husband who gets 5 stars for being real and for being mine!

E., my husband. Hands off ladies, this “hottie” is mine!

My “heat” rating:

So, that’s it (for now, anyway…the year is still young!) Best of luck to the other read-a-thoners…it’s tough to concentrate in all this heat! 

Thanks to A Book Lover’s Review for hosting this challenge.

For more posts on the Summer Wrap-Up Read-a-Thon, you can visit here.

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Who’s on your “Hotter than Summer” list?

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Zara Alexis