One of our favorite comments from the vote this month was “Thanks as always for the tough decisions!” Which made us chuckle since we think there are so many great global reads out there & love that you think so too.
Some of your other comments inspired us when a number of you noted that you adored the book of poetry & wanted to read it—just not as the main book. Since the winning novel is coincidentally a thriller/mystery/historical fiction read about the poet we included, we decided we’d have both books for May! (This is actually what some reviewers of the novel suggest as well.) So you’re welcome to read either book, but we hope you read both as we’ll be doing. (Written by a Nobel-prize winner, the slim volume of poetry is only 96 pages which includes both poems & photos so it will be a short read in any case.)
“Published for the first time in English, an atmospheric, brilliant novel from an internationally bestselling literary luminary.
Roberto Ampuero’s novels starring the wonderfully roguish Cayetano Brulé are an international sensation. In The Neruda Case, readers are introduced to Cayetano as he takes on his first case as a private eye. Set against the fraught political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro’s Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin, this mystery spans countries, cultures, and political ideas, and features one of literature’s most beloved figures—Pablo Neruda.
Cayetano meets the poet at a party in Chile in the 1970s. The dying Neruda recruits Cayetano to help him solve the last great mystery of his life. As Cayetano fumbles around his first case, finding it hard to embrace the new inspector identity foisted upon him, he begins to learn more about Neruda’s hidden agenda. Neruda sends him on a whirlwind expedition around the world, ending back in Chile, where Pinochet’s coup plays out against the final revelations of their journey.
Evocative, romantic, and full of intrigue, Ampuero’s novel is both a glimpse into the life of Pablo Neruda as death approaches and a political thriller that unfolds during the fiercely convulsive end of an era.”
(A special thank you to book club member, Elke Richelsen for the suggestion.)
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, the International Peace Prize, & the Lenin Peace Prize, Pablo Neruda remains one of the most influential voices in world literature.
“Few writers are as integrally bound to a place as Pablo Neruda was to the landscape of Isla Negra on Chile’s coast. From his arrival there in the late 1930s to his death in 1973 [from what is suspected to be poisoning by the Chilean military dictatorship], Neruda captured Isla Negra in words and images fundamental to an understanding of his work. It was at Isla Negra where Neruda ‘in the company of his muse, walked alongside the source of his most lyrical inspiration, the sea...and discovered a new way of seeing, as the ocean became a living metaphor for the infinite riches of the world.’”
Neruda’s imagery with words is sublime & this slim volume will make you long to live along the coastline. Neruda has been referred to as the “greatest poet of the 20th century in any language” & is recognized as one of the 26 authors that make up the Western canon of literature along with the likes of Jane Austen, Dante, Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, & Borges among others.