No Place for Heroes

Laura Restrepo, Author, Ernesto Mestre-Reed, Translator
Laura Restrepo, trans. from the Spanish by Ernesto Mestre-Reed, Doubleday/Talese, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-51991-5
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From Restrepo (Delirium) comes a surprisingly plain-faced novel of parenthood set in the aftermath of the Argentine Dirty War. A journalist and one-time revolutionary, Lorenza is returning to Buenos Aires in the late 1990s with her teenage son, Mateo. Both are looking for RamoĢn Iribarren, a shadowy resistance leader and Mateo's father, with whom Lorenza spent the years of General Videla's junta distributing underground newspapers and frequenting apartment safe houses with toothpaste tubes filled with microfilm. As their search takes them deep into Argentina's recent past, Lorenza fills her impressionable son's head with tales of his troubled nativity, but Mateo has been brought up a member of a generation that may ultimately be beyond Lorenza's understanding. Restrepo is surefooted when it comes to depicting life during wartime, but the authenticity of that world is so starkly juxtaposed with her fumbling grasp of Mateo and youth culture that readers may wish that Restrepo had set the novel in the fascinating times that the characters seem largely content to relive. (July)
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