cover image Olor A Rosas Invisibles/The Scent Of Invisible Roses

Olor A Rosas Invisibles/The Scent Of Invisible Roses

Laura Restrepo. Alfaguara, $17.99 (118pp) ISBN 978-1-60396-350-3

Colombian Restrepo's latest is a nostalgic look at young love between a beautiful and talented Chilean named Elo\xEDsa and Luic\xE9, a wealthy Colombian, who fall for each other on a student trip to Egypt. Upon their return to Rome, where both are students, they neglect their studies and dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to each other. When their parents learn of the affair, they intervene, and the romance and Roman idyll come to an end. Decades pass and, although Elo\xEDsa and Luic\xE9 have not seen each other, she writes to him to inform him of her husband's death. Luic\xE9 calls with his condolences, and thus begins a long series of telephone exchanges that culminate in a meeting. Restrepo's characters are worldly, the settings international and rather refined even though their circumstances are not unusual. Restrepo gives life to the passion of older individuals who have not entirely abandoned their sexuality but whose needs are more complex. The author allows her heroine a great deal of leeway; it is Eloisa who is bolder and wiser in matters of the heart. Although the prose sometimes seems overly thought out and vaguely purple, on the whole, this story is touching. Tinted with nostalgia, as when people of a certain age sometimes reflect upon the ""what if,"" this bilingual edition of a modern fairy tale has a happier ending than most stories of this kind; recommended for all libraries and bookstores. Catherine Rend\xF3n, Savannah, GA