The description of this book ticked lots of boxes for me.
It’s a translated book, written by a woman, and it’s set in South America, specifically Venezuela, a country I have never been to and don’t know very much of, and sadly haven’t read much about. So I was thrilled to receive this book and immediately set myself to read it.
And while it is heavy, while it is full of sadness and grief (it begins with the death of the main character’s mother and the difficulty in giving her a proper funeral, fearing thieves will descend on the grave before night falls), it was an absorbing read.
Life in Venezuela is a continuous struggle. Supplies are scarce. Rationing is so bad that sanitary napkins are more valuable than toilet paper. Cash is worthless. The banking system “a complete fiction”. Protesters on the street. The air constantly filled with tear gas.
“That’s the way we were all living: peering at what was in each other’s shopping bag. Sniffing out when a neighbour came home with something in short supply, so we could investigate where to get hold of it. We were all becoming suspicious and watchful. We would distort solidarity into predation.”
Adelaida falls into more trouble. The apartment that she lives in gets taken over by a gang of armed women. Luckily (and perhaps a little bit too conveniently), the death of a neighbour offers her an opening, a possible way out.
The story moves from present to past and the happier memories that Adelaida has of her childhood in the city.
It Would Be Night in Caracas is an intense read. It brings a personal narrative to all that is going on in Venezuela, what I’ve seen as headlines and news articles take on new meaning in this debut.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and
publisher HarperVia for sending me a copy of this book.
Check out the rest of the tour stops