The Blue Hour by Alonso Cueto
Translated by Frank Wynne
Alonso Cueto like his fellow Peruvian writer Santiago Roncagliolo is another rising star of spanish language fiction from Peru .Although older than Santiago he went to university in the Us .He complete his first novel in 1983 ,he is editor of the debate a peruvian magazine and section in the newspaper El comercio and teaches at two universities .The blue hour is his first book to be translated to English .It won the Prestigious Premio Herralde de novela previous winners include Bolano ,Vila-Matas and Tsyzka .
They’ll recognise me or my wife Claudia .My wife Claudia .It feels strange calling her that as thou she was a stranger .The arc of her name reminds me of a rainbow – at least that’s what I told her last night .
Adrian on his wife .
The book is about the civil war in Peru the battle with the Shining path that last Ten year .Told through the story of Adrian Ormache ,a succesful lawyer from lima a man on the up a well-known man the son of the famous Colonel Ormache who had led many successful operations during the war against the Shining path .But all that is about to change as his mother dies and the is a dark secret in his fathers past .His view of his father is changed beyond belief the shining Naval officer he saw as his father turn out to be a torturer and rapist ,the solders he left to killed at will .Then there is a women his father had an affair with Miriam a prisoner who he may have let escape ,what has she to tell Adrian .He starts to trouble who he is ,after he is so wrong about who is father was and then wondered why his mother did nothing .We see a patchwork of lies,brutality ,misery and violence face Adrian in his search for the truth .Will him and Claudia and his two lovely daughters ever be the same .
Suddenly in a rush that surprised even me ,I remembered something else .I wasn’t sure whether it was something I had actually heard or something I simply imagined.I dimly remembered that just before his fight with Guayo ,Chacho had told me that when she ran away ,Miriam wa pregnant
I jotted down
7 possibly …..
Adrian making a list of what he needs to find out .after his mothers death .
Well its easy to compare this to Red April Santiago’s book I mean they are both about the shining path ,both writers from Lima ,both are very realist writers yes it be easy but they are different in so many ways . this is a book about families as much as it is about Peru ‘s recent past ,the relationships we find in families Father to son ,mother to son ,parents to children and husband and wife and what happens when war ,lies and sex get in the way of this oh and throw in a pretty young women from the other side .You may be feeling sorry for Adrian after reading what I put in the second paragraph , but don’t he isn’t going through this pain to cleanse himself .No he is shallow lawyer wanting to climb greasy pole and is worried how these revelations will affect him in the eyes of his peers a .He is the classic guy that want to find something out but only to hide it away at a later date a classic anti-hero and a bit of a bastard rather like his father and maybe as the books goes on you see more of the father in the son ,We also learn that in a big city like Lima where the book is set ,there are many different people all within a small area and you may even be connect with the ones on the bottom if your near the top .If I want to compare him to a latin american writer .I think Cueto is closer to Juan Carlos Onetti in style Onetti a writer of existentialists movement a pessimist in what he wrote of life in all its myriads and the man Cueto wrote his dissertation on is maybe the writer I most see in his work that and some of LLosa how of course being the most successful Peruvian writer must be an inspiration to all current writers .
What Peruvian fiction you read ?
Do you like books with a narrator you may not like ?#