It Would Be Night in Caracas

Karina Sainz Borgo, trans. from the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer. HarperVia, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-293686-8
Sainz Borgo’s excellent debut is a harrowing account of one woman grieving the recent death of her mother while attempting to survive the political unrest in Caracas, Venezuela. Adelaida buries her namesake after having drained their savings buying medicine on the black market. Ana, Adelaida’s closest friend, fears the worst has befallen her missing brother, Santiago, after the Sons of the Revolution arrest him. When Adelaida’s apartment is taken over by thugs, she discovers her neighbor Aurora dead in the apartment next door. During an attempt to dispose of her body, she encounters Santiago, who appears to have joined the group that kidnapped him. Though she doesn’t fully trust him, they take shelter in Aurora’s apartment, where Adelaida finds troves of meticulously kept documents that will help her impersonate Aurora and escape Venezuela. The novel alternates scenes of present-day chaos with Adelaida’s memories of her loving mother, and Sainz Borgo infuses both sections with heartbreaking details that stay with the reader: the squeal of a pet turtle as it’s boiled to death, heirloom plates smashed with malice. She does a fantastic job of showcasing Adelaida’s personal despair within the greater agony of the country. Readers will appreciate how Sainz Borgo puts a human face on the tragedy of Venezuela’s upheaval. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/08/2019
Release date: 10/15/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-06-293689-9
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