By Carolina De Robertis
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95, 256 pages
Perla is a book that will keep you thinking long after you have finished it. Carolina De DeRobertis weaves a beautiful tale based on true events that took place in Argentina during the 1970’s and 80’s. Perla is a university student that has troubled relationships with friends and lovers and never really knows why. Then she meets Gabriel, a journalist who investigates the Dirty War and the hundreds of thousands of people who have disappeared during the upheaval, including Perla’s parents. Perla discovers that the “disappeared” are a part of her life but she does not connect the dots until a surreal ghost appears in her home. The narrative goes back and forth between Perla’s voice and the ghost’s perspective. The spirit comments on the atrocities of the disappearances. Perla is haunted with the question of who she really is and what her adoptive parents did to get her.
Although DeRobertis writes about atrocities, her descriptive and beautiful writing style makes the story mesmerizing. The book’s commentary on how low human beings can go to pursue their own agendas at the sake of others makes it hard to put down until you finish the last page.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff