The Neruda Case (Ampuero)

I am always cautious when an author includes an historical figure in a novel. It is one thing to have the fictional protagonist meet an historical figure (see Roddy Doyle, Jeffrey Eugenides), but for such a figure to be so central. . . Dangerous stuff. Ampuero has a motive. A one-time neighbor of Neruda’s, he sought, according to his author’s note, to create a more complete portrait of the revered figure. Indeed, Neruda does come off as selfish and cruel here, but is that accurate? Is it even a complete account of Neruda’s life? We see little of his creativity and what he meant to people, but that could be outside of Ampuero’s scope. He may assume we already know all that.

At first, Ampuero’s prose made me sit up and pay attention. But it quickly tuns into pretty stock stuff. That may be the fault of his translator, Carolina de Robertis.

I can’t recommend this one.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s