RED APRIL. A NOVEL. Translated by Edith Grossman
Roncagliolo, Santiago.

New York: Vintage Books, 2010. 1st ed. 8vo, wrps, 271 p. New Paperback 9780307388384 On its surface an exciting and fast-moving whodunit set during Lent and Holy Week of 2000, Red April revolves around the seemingly hapless, bureaucratic public prosecutor Félix Chacaltana Saldívar as he investigates an unusual death only to find that everyone he speaks to in his inquiry soon meets a grisly demise. The extreme brutality of the murders suggests there may be a resurgence of the "terrorists" (el Sendero Luminoso). It's not particularly difficult to sense otherwise, as early on, Roncagliolo is none too subtle in narrowing the field of would-be culprits. But that's hardly the point. We're given historical insight as to why this conflict was so ugly, but, more importantly, we're forced to confront the implications and aftermath of war and how its brutality affects both the individual and the society at large. "We waged a just war, that is undeniable, but sometimes I have difficulty distinguishing between us and the enemy," bemoans Saldívar, "and when that happens, I begin to ask myself what exactly it is that we fought against." His concerns are, indeed, universal. (Item ID: 154817)


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