4.4.13

PERLA, by Carolina De Robertis


If you read only one novel this summer, read this one. Set in post-dictatorship Buenos Aires, Perla is the daughter of a severe Navy officer and his brittle wife. The time is after the terrible years of the junta, when thirty thousand “disappeared” citizens simply vanished, and whose fates are largely unknown. Perla knows her beloved papa was a military officer, but the subject is never explored in the family.Until an odd visitor appears in her living room, she is unwilling to confront not only the past, but her family's actions and her own origins. Few books make me cry, but this one did it, and with a luminous power and grace and breathtaking, wring-you-dry emotion that will leave you, as it did me, exhausted but completely satisfied. A 5+. Perfect for a book club.