The Invisible Mountain – Carolina De Robertis

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the lack of South American books I’d read, so I jumped at the chance to read The Invisible Mountain which is set in both Uruguay and Argentina.

The book follows three generations of women and begins in rural Uruguay at the dawn of the twentieth century. Each of the women has to deal with a different set of problems, but the main theme of the book seems to be freedom; whether this is simply freedom within the home, or the greater, more brutal lack of freedom imposed by governments.

The book is beautifully written, balancing poetic prose with Spanish words, so giving an authentic atmosphere which perfectly captures the lives of these women. Each character is vividly drawn and I loved them all, so felt their pain whenever they had difficult circumstances to to deal with.

Although it felt more like three short stories, connected only by the link of motherhood, it was great for me to be able to see the changes taking place in these countries over the century. I’m ashamed to admit that I know nothing about the history of South America, and so although this book added greatly to my knowledge, it also left me hungry for more. I found myself searching the Internet for more information about the politics of this time-period, something I am rarely inspired to do while reading a book and just shows the effect this book had on me.

The Invisible Mountain is a really good book, which is both thought-provoking and shocking, but with some gentle, tender moments. It has many similarities to A Thousand Splendid Suns, but I found The Invisible Mountain to be the better written of the two.

Highly recommended, especially to people who like reading about different countries and cultures.


Have you ever read a book set in Uruguay or Argentina?

Do you know much about the history of these countries?

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  1. Jenny says:

    Great review! I’m ashamed to say that the most I know about Argentina is pretty much gleaned from watching Evita. :P I would like to learn more about them though – the history of South American countries is one of those obsessions-in-waiting that I keep putting off falling into properly.

    1. Jackie says:

      I haven’t even watched Evita, so before reading this book you probably knew more than me!

  2. Diane says:

    Jackie…great review. I hope to get this one too someday. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Jackie says:

      See – you can even pick out great books without even having read them!! I hope you can get your hands on a copy soon.

  3. Sandy says:

    Ah, the only thing I know about South America is what I’ve learned from Isabele Allende. I love learning about new cultures, and the Hispanic ones are so rich and emotional. I will add it to the Jackie list.

    1. Jackie says:

      I really need to find an Isabelle Allende book soon. The Spanish cultures are so different from other ones. I love reading about them!

  4. Simon S says:

    Thank you so much for intrioducing this book to us it sounds like it is wonderful! I may have to add this to my wish list. As ‘The Converted One’ is from Brazil I am always getting told of some of the great authors I am missing, though finding south american books are hard… brazilian ones in particular are a nightmare, though Bloomsbury seem to be doing something about that.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’d love to have some good recommendations from ‘the converted one’. Do let me know if he raves about one book in particular!

      1. Simon S says:

        Though not by a South American author ‘Heliopolis’ has been raved about in the Savidge Reads household for weeks and weeks (it’s set in Brazil) and am just about to dig into that one so will let you know if the judgement in the furure might be apt lol

  5. Polly says:

    Oh this sounds great. I haven’t read many books set in South America and I like the idea of the female generations.

    1. Jackie says:

      I think this book is a great introduction to South America. I hope you enjoy it if you do decide to read it.

  6. Swati says:

    I’m impressed with the speed with which you read books. You seem to finish a book a day!
    This book sounds right up my street. I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I love family sagas spanning generations.

    I haven’t thought about it till now, but I haven’t read any books set in Argentina. I have read a lot of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, from COlombia, but he writes magic realism and surrealism so I didn’t get much insight into South American cultures through his works.

    1. Jackie says:

      It does look as though I’ve been reading a book a day, but it took me more than a day to read this one and a lot longer to read Cloud Street! Some of the shorter ones are read in a day and taking part in blog post bingo last week meant that I had a few reviews stacked up.

  7. In the past few years, I find myself being more and more attracted to Spanish writers. I think it’s a growing love of Magical Realism that draws me in.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m still undecided about magical realism. There isn’t any in this book, but there is a nice section about some of their beliefs.

  8. So glad to hear it. I have this on the TBR pile and have been waffling about whether to pick it up or not.

    1. Jackie says:

      I look forward to reading your review! I hope you decide to pick it up soon.

  9. Belle says:

    What a lovely review. This sounds like a beautifully written book. I’ll have to keep my eye out for it.

    1. Jackie says:

      It is! I hope you find a copy!

  10. Violet says:

    I haven’t read a lot on South america too. I loved A Thousand Splendid suns, so I’m sure I would like this book. Thanks for the review Jackie.

    1. Jackie says:

      I think you’d enjoy this book too. It is informative as well as being a good story!

  11. WordLily says:

    Sounds like a great one. Now I want to read it. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      I hope you enjoy it if you get round to reading it!

  12. softdrink says:

    I love books set in other countries, but I’ve never read any set in Argentina or Uruguay. This one is going on my list! Thanks!

    1. Jackie says:

      I wonder if you are allowed to count this book for two countries?! I hope you enjoy it!

  13. Marjorie says:

    I’ve come to you via Beth at Beth Fish Reads and I’m so glad she chose this review to highlight your blog – my mother was born in Uruguay and I’ve never read a novel set there – this one’s a must!

    And nice to meet a fellow blogger from the UK :-)

  14. Jackie says:

    Majorie, It was my first novel from Uruguay too! I loved it and I hope you enjoy reading it.


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