by Marie Arana
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Cellophane by Marie Arana

Don Victor Sobrevilla, a lovable, eccentric engineer, always dreamed of founding a paper factory in the heart of the Peruvian rain forest, and at the opening of this miraculous novel his dream has come true—until he discovers the recipe for cellophane. In a life already filled with signs and portents, the family dog suddenly begins to cough strangely. A wild little boy turns azurite blue. All at once Don Victor is overwhelmed by memories of his erotic past; his prim wife, Doña Mariana, reveals the shocking truth about her origins; the three Sobrevilla children turn their love lives upside down; the family priest blurts out a long-held secret....

A hilarious plague of truth has descended on the once well-behaved Sobrevillas, only the beginning of this brilliantly realized, generous-hearted novel. Marie Arana’s style, originality, and trenchant wit will establish her as one of the most audacious talents in fiction today and Cellophane as one of the most evocative and spirited novels of the year.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440336921
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/01/2007
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
File size: 866 KB

About the Author

Marie Arana is the editor of the Washington Post Book World. Born in Peru of a Peruvian father and an American mother, she is the author of American Chica, a finalist for the PEN—Memoir Award and the National Book Award, and a collection of columns, The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work. Marie Arana lives in Washington, D.C., and Lima, Peru.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Cellophane 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is really such an escape. The cast of characters is rich, comic and interesting. Arana grounds her work to the seething jungle of the Amazon. A really classical piece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Throughout the ages, telling the truth has always been held in high esteem. From the opening books of the Bible which give us the Commandment against bearing false witness, to elementary school history books that extol the virtue of honesty by repeatedly emphasizing that George Washington never told a lie, we have been continually led to believe that the truth shall set us free. But can always being truthful be too much of a good thing? This philosophical question is put to the test with amazing consequences when a plague of truth strikes a Peruvian family in Marie Arana¿s first novel, ¿Cellophane.¿ Set in the dense rainforest of South America¿s third largest country, Arana uses Peru¿s allure as a mystical, magical, inaccessible region where only the most adventurous dare to traverse, as the home base of a patriarchal family led by Don Victor Sobrevilla, an eccentric engineer whose quest for concocting the perfect recipe for cellophane puts into motion a string of events that exposes secrets long kept hidden behind closed lips. ¿Not since (Don Victor) set foot on the riverbank and christened the land Floralinda had he sensed that he was on the verge of something significant, that he was¿as the witchman who birthed his daughters had told him¿being summoned into the universe. Beware of wanting too much, the witchman had quickly added, for greed always ends in privation.¿ As Don Victor prepares to enjoy the realization of his dream, life for his family members and close associates becomes convoluted in a vortex of shameful family histories, past and current erotic transgressions, and the destabilization of the only form of community government in the region, making everyone¿s life as flimsy and transparent as the pieces of cellophane that litter their hacienda¿s terrain. Skillfully weaving modern science, folk medicine and religious faith, Arana captures the nuances of life on the Ucayali riverbank, which due to its location in the Amazon rainforest, makes it a part of the world that time and technology often overlook. It¿s the perfect setting for a tale that begins with the family dog barking strangely and a wild little boy who turns blue and dies with a heart as black as stone, to literal affairs of the priesthood, and culminating with loves and lust best kept secret but in the end cannot be contained by man. Arana, editor of The Washington Post Book World, sympathetically demonstrates her knowledge the of region, an area she knows well as she was born in Peru of a Peruvian father and an American mother, and lived in the country for the first 10 years of her life. Her native language¿Spanish¿comes in handy as Spanish words and phrases, along with cultural beliefs and reverence to familial hierarchies and religious observances and obligations, set a firm foundation for the book¿s protagonist to return to or ignore, depending upon circumstance. Does the truth truly set one free? While ¿Cellophane¿ is an original and spirited work of fiction, readers are going to find it hard not to question this central issue of virtue in their own lives, and contemplate whether the secrets they hold in their hearts and tongues are best left alone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was a complete pleasure to read. Never did i think a book could take your mind to such an odd world. This book is a must read, a pleasure.. every page is mystical.. Its been a long time comming.