Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and novelist Tobar (The Barbarian Nurseries) presents the riveting story of the 33 men who spent 69 days trapped more than 2,000 feet underground in Chile’s San José Mine in 2010. Noting that the abundance of minerals under the hills of the Atacama desert drew workers from all corners of Chile, Tobar—who was granted exclusive access to the miners and their families—compassionately recounts the miners’ personal histories, experiences during the 17 days they were without outside contact, extended rescue, and the drama above ground with the families living near the mine in their makeshift “Camp Esperanza,” mingling with government ministers, NASA advisors, engineers, mechanics, and drillers. Particularly moving is the reenactment of the first 17 days when the “33” banded together, drinking dirty water used to cool off the mine’s drilling systems and sharing their meager food supplies. Feeling as though “they are living inside a Bible parable,” the men keep their hopes up through prayer, and some gravitate toward particular roles: the pastor, the chronicler, the unofficial spokesman. Tobar vividly narrates the miners’ lives post-rescue as they come to terms with their life-changing experience and the media frenzy surrounding it. Rich in local color, this is a sensitive, suspenseful rendering of a legendary story. Agent: Jay Mandel, WME. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/28/2014 Release date: 10/07/2014 Genre: Nonfiction
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