2009 Recommended books

The Invisible Mountain – Carolina De Robertis

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?