Death in the Andes

Death in the Andes

Book - 1996
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"The novel tells the story of army corporal Lituma and his deputy Tomas, who have been assigned to treacherous guard duty in an isolated, run-down mining community in the mountains of Peru. The men are homesick and far from enthusiastic about serving as foot soldiers in the Peruvian Army's ongoing war against the Shining Path guerrillas. So, to pass the time, Tomas tells the story of his great love, Mercedes, a troublemaking prostitute who leads him on a precarious, cross-country adventure. But life in the Andes soon turns eventful, too. Lituma and Tomas find themselves caught up in a series of mysterious disappearances involving the Shining Path and, soon enough, a local couple performing cannibalistic sacrifices with a strange similarity to the Dionysian rituals of ancient Greece." "Part detective novel and part political allegory, Death in the Andes offers a panoramic view of Peru today - not only of the current political violence and social upheaval but also of the country's roots in Indian culture and pre-Hispanic mysticism."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374140014
Branch Call Number: FICTION Var
Description: 275 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Grossman, Edith 1936-


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Apr 18, 2012

I bought several books by MVL when Borders went bankrupt. This is the first one I finished since it is the THINNEST of the bunch.

The story line evolves around two soldiers in a (dangerously) desolate outpost where the Shining Path rages. The interlacing story telling style might throw you off in the beginning but what a story MVL told -- it is a romance, a detective story, a snapshot of a nation/people in turmoil and quite a dose of mythology.

Online review claimed that the translation did not do the original text justice since it lost some of the nuances particular to the Spanish language but I still managed to feel the piercingly cold desolation, the fiery but hopeless love and the ever present terror (whether by the Maoist or by Pishtaco).

Highly recommended. This is a read as good as Hundred years of Solitude.


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