The Blue hour by Alonso Cueto

The Blue Hour by Alonso Cueto

Peruvian fiction

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 ?#

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tony
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 00:49:26

    I’ve never read anything Peruvian, but I’ve heard of the Shining Path group, and I’d like to know more. Would you recommend this or ‘Red April’ more?

    Reply

  2. pburt
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 03:13:05

    This sounds good. I can’t think of a book that I have read where I liked the book but not the narrator. I have decided not to finish Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante but I haven’t figured out if it is the book or the narrator or both.

    Reply

  3. Amritorupa Kanjilal
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 09:25:25

    My favorite Peruvian writer is Mario Varghas Llosa. I did a review of his book The Feast of The Goat- please do check it out…
    http://riversihaveknown.com/the-feast-of-the-goat-by-mario-vargas-llosa-a-review/

    Reply

  4. Geosi
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 17:31:47

    have also not heard anything about Peruvian fiction. You seem to be bringing me new stuffs all the time. Thanks so much.

    Reply

  5. Richard
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 03:05:27

    Interesting, Stu–the bit about the relationship between the son and the father actually reminds me of Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s The Informers a bit. I didn’t like Red April much–found it kind of a cheesy, over the top thriller in the end–so I look forward to how you answer Tony’s question above. That period of history in Peru is certainly fascinating from the little I’ve read about it, though.

    Reply

    • winstonsdad
      Jul 17, 2012 @ 12:53:27

      I enjoyed this more than red april ,which I know wasn’t asmuch as it could of been, was toned down a bit supposidly from the spanish ,all the best stu

      Reply

  6. Esteban
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 11:27:38

    The Blue Hour! Not only is Red April cheesy, it’s got all the facts wrong! Red April was largely a failure here in Peru whereas The Blue Hour has been a bestseller since it came out in 2005.

    Reply

  7. Trackback: Library Loot: August 15-21 « If you can read this
  8. Liburuak
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 18:03:44

    Thanks for recommending this, Stu. After reading Red April I’m now looking forward to this, I enjoyed Red April but it seems like this is even better. And I’m curious about what Esteban said about Red April getting the facts wrong – it was recommended to me by a Peruvian, so that definitely came as a surprise.

    Reply

    • winstonsdad
      Feb 06, 2013 @ 02:15:18

      I m sure the facts maybe aren’t perfect but it is a novel I feel blue hour just seems more real and was suggest by its translator as better than red April all the best stu

      Reply

  9. Trackback: What’s going on in the world of translation ! | Winstonsdad's Blog

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