The Neruda Case

The Neruda Case

4.4 5
by Roberto Ampuero, Robertson Dean
     
 

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Roberto Ampuero's novels starring the wonderfully roguish Cayetano Brulé are an international sensation. In The Neruda Case, listeners are introduced to Cayetano as he takes on his first case as a private eye. Set against the fraught political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro's Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin, this mystery spans countries,

Overview

Roberto Ampuero's novels starring the wonderfully roguish Cayetano Brulé are an international sensation. In The Neruda Case, listeners are introduced to Cayetano as he takes on his first case as a private eye. Set against the fraught political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro's Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin, this mystery spans countries, cultures, and political ideas, and features one of literature's most beloved figures-Pablo Neruda.Cayetano meets the poet at a party in Chile in the 1970s. The dying Neruda recruits Cayetano to help him solve the last great mystery of his life. As Cayetano fumbles around his first case, finding it hard to embrace the new inspector identity foisted upon him, he begins to learn more about Neruda's hidden agenda. Neruda sends him on a whirlwind expedition around the world, ending back in Chile, where Pinochet's coup plays out against the final revelations of their journey.Evocative, romantic, and full of intrigue, Ampuero's novel is both a glimpse into the life of Pablo Neruda as death approaches and a political thriller that unfolds during the fiercely convulsive end of an era.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Chilean author Ampuero’s first novel published in English, a moving fictional interpretation of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda’s final days in 1973, appropriately enough sings with poetic metaphor. Neruda, who’s ill with cancer as Chile teeters toward upheaval because of his friend President Allende’s reform platform, seeks out unemployed Cuban Cayetano Brulé in Valparaíso and hires him to investigate the whereabouts of a former acquaintance, Dr. Ángel Bracamonte. Never mind that Brulé is no detective. The aging poet–cum–political activist persuades the young Brulé to become his “own private Maigret,” and travel to Mexico City, the last place Neruda saw Bracamonte. The mission seems cut and dried, except Neruda has not only withheld critical information, he has sworn Brulé to secrecy. Nobody must know the identity of who Brulé is looking for or why he is looking for him. The plot twists from Mexico City to East Germany, from lies to truth, from uneasy peace to political coup, from life to death. Read this one as much for the story as for the wonderful way Ampuero has with words. Agent: Lindsay Edgecombe, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher
"[Listen to] this one as much for the story as for the wonderful way Ampuero has with words." —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Library Journal
Chilean-born Ampuero's books starring private eye Cayetano Brulé are best sellers worldwide, but though the author has been teaching at the University of Iowa since 2000 (having spent time in Cuba, East Germany, West Germany, and Sweden), this is his first publication in English. Upon meeting Neruda at a party in pre-Pinochet Chile, Brulé is asked to solve a mystery troubling the great poet and finds himself traveling far afield (to Cuba, East Berlin…) for that purpose. Not just for mystery fans—or readers of Latin American literature.
Kirkus Reviews
If the title sounds like something out of detective fiction, it is--for Ampuero asks us to consider the hypothetical possibility that Pablo Neruda, terminally ill, hires someone to track down a former lover. This someone--Cayetano Brulé--is not even a professional detective but rather a Cuban who's casually met the aging Neruda at a party in 1973. Neruda had previously hired several professional detectives to pursue the elusive quarry, and not only have they all failed, but they've tried to defraud him as well. Brulé takes up the task in homage to a poet he reveres, and he even starts reading Georges Simenon novels for inspiration. At first Neruda disguises Brulé's mission by asking him to find Dr. Ángel Bracamonte, who through his knowledge of herbal medicine might supposedly be able to cure Neruda, now dying of cancer. But the real reason Brulé takes up--and fumbles through--his first case is to locate Bracamonte's wife Beatriz, a dazzling beauty from the 1940s. Neruda not only knew the Bracamontes 30 years earlier, he was also Beatriz's lover and might be the father of their daughter, Tina. Neruda has Brulé chase down cryptic clues that lead him to Cuba, Bolivia and East Germany. Four of the five chapters in the novel are named after Neruda's wives or lovers, from the exotic Josie Bliss to the dancer Matilde Urrutia, and within these chapters Ampuero fantasizes a first-person "reminiscence" that Neruda might plausibly have had. The action of Brulé's discoveries is played out against the growing political tension that leads to the overthrow of Allende and the beginnings of the political oppression of Augusto Pinochet, a coup that Neruda survived by only 17 days. While Ampuero depicts Neruda warts and all, he still clearly admires his complex and demanding humanness.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452638928
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
07/30/2012
Edition description:
Library - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
6.80(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Roberto Ampuero’s The Neruda Case is a sweeping mystery set against the backdrop of the Chilean coup. This unforgettable book is brilliantly imagined, and features the poet Pablo Neruda in a remarkably intimate role. Roberto Ampuero’s writing is exhilarating; he is a delight to read.” — Isabel Allende, author of Daughter of Fortune and The House of the Spirits

Meet the Author

Roberto Ampuero is the internationally bestselling, award-winning author of several novels in Spanish, including Nuestros Años Verde Olivo and ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann? The Neruda Case is his first novel published in English. Born in Chile, Ampuero is a professor of creative writing at the University of Iowa and currently serves as Chile's ambassador to Mexico. He lives in Mexico City and Iowa City. Robertson Dean has recorded hundreds of audiobooks in most every genre. He's been nominated for several Audie Awards, won nine Earphones Awards, and was named one of AudioFile magazine's Best Voices of 2010. He lives in Los Angeles, where he records books and acts in film, TV, and (especially) on stage.

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The Neruda Case: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant! Pablo Neruda; Salvador Allende; Chile, Mexico, Cuba, East Germany, and Bolivia in 1973; Chile 30 years later; and an engaging, doubly or triply fictional detective and his friends. If I give it 4 stars instead of 5 it's because I'm trying to allow for the impossible. Meanwhile I look forward to seeing more of this author's work.
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