Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kamchatka by Marcelo Figueras


This is not a book to read when one is in a hurry. If you have a stack of things to “get through” and want to check this off the list, I urge you to put it aside until you have time to savor the language, and remember the languorous time of childhood when small realities intrude upon days of fantasy and play.

The time is Argentina in the 1970’s, when political disappearances are common. A new government has taken over from the Peron government and suddenly opponents of the new government find themselves unemployed, ostracized, pursued. A family senses danger closing in and escapes to a borrowed quintas, or summer house, outside of Buenos Aires to wait out the repression. But time is not on their side.

The language is simple and beautiful, and the story is told in the voice a young boy who only occasionally glimpses the real world around him. The buildup of tension is almost imperceptible. The parents tried to act normal, and the boys, aged 5 and 10, felt but did not understand the undertow of tension and uncertainty.

This would be an excellent book for young adult readers, for much of the book is seen through the eyes of a child, and is immediately accessible to teens. The descriptions of the countryside and of the actions of the parents ring true and yet there is always some bigger mystery hidden in each of the short chapters. It would be an excellent addition to a history lesson on South America or Argentina.

Some may know of the book from the 2002 movie of the same title.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores


  1. Thank you for your review. I definitely want to read this book and agree it needs to be read quietly.

  2. I'm kind of interested in this. I read a great book about Argentina a while back, a crime novel I really enjoyed, and am sort of fascinated by the country. nice pick and great review.