cover image The Days of the Rainbow

The Days of the Rainbow

Antonio Skarmeta, trans. from the Spanish by Mery Botbol. Other Press, $16.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1590516270

Set in the weeks leading up to the 1988 Chilean plebiscite that ended Pinchoet's rule, Skarmeta's historical novel%E2%80%94winner of the 2011 Premio Iberoamericano Planeta-Casa de Am%C3%A9rica de Narrativa award%E2%80%94follows two men as they navigate the difficult terrain of life under a dictatorship. Bettini, a brilliant, and thus underemployed, ad man is tasked with creating a 15-minute television ad campaign for the coalition of political parties who, seeking an end to Pinochet's rule, have united under the common cause of voting "No" on the plebiscite. As time runs out, Betinni strives to create a single message that can satisfy all the dissenters and inspire the Chilean people. Meanwhile, his daughter's boyfriend, Nico, attempts to find his father, a philosophy teacher who was arrested by Pinochet's men during class. As he awaits his father's return, Nico imagines the worst, slowly opening his eyes to the realities of Chile and adulthood. The dual narratives complement each other well, illustrating the horrors of Pinochet's regime and the difficulties of resistance. However, the emotional power and weight of Nico's narrative consistently overpowers Bettini's story, further unbalancing a translation that favors the informal, breezy language of the Chilean youth over the stolid speech of their elders. (June)