I love all kinds of books! For all my friends, I am known on GR as Alicja. I don't stick with a genre, that's boring. Instead you'll get reviews from the most random assortment of fiction and non-fiction works. It's probably due to my interests being as eclectic as my book tastes.
I'm a girlfriend-loving bisexual, science fiction geek, PC gamer, historical fiction devourer, hiker, atheist, history buff, opera lover, vegetarian, kayaker, metal and hard rock concert goer, science nerd, politics debater, world traveler, M/M romance fan, and I have the ability to transform from an adult-like hard-working professional into a screaming fangirl in five seconds flat.
Summary: As Argentina is going through political upheaval, so is Richard. Strangled by his job and lack of love life, he takes risks and grows just like this new Argentina does. He finds himself in a new career and in a new love.
Review: My initial reaction: "Brilliant, emotional, and will leave you, well, utterly speechless. Just... WOW!"
The melancholy, trance-like prose beautifully illustrates how Richard drifts through life being a part of it yet apart at the same time. He is lonely and detached but manages to hang on to enough life to carve for himself a place within the political atmosphere of Argentina post the Falklands loss and the fall of the generals. The novel is vague about the specifics of the political atmosphere but it parallels beautifully the changes in society to the changes within Richard.
Richard is a complex character, growing and becoming more confident and self-assured as he finds his way in this new society.
Surprisingly, this is also a deeply emotional love story. Through the first half the book it looks like Toibin is setting up political intrigue but then Richard's life takes an unexpected turn (as life tends to do) and he falls in love with Pablo. The characters are presented emotionally coarse yet gentle. It is stunning just how Toibin is able to thrust us into this raw reality where the emotions bombard the readers, sometimes unbearably. And through tragedy they are able to find the very soul of humanity, love.