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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Abril rojo by Santiago Roncagliolo. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published April 1st by Alfaguara first published More Details Original Title.
Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Abril rojo , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Abril rojo. How best to express the horrors of a bloody civil war whose memory is still painful?
How can one probe into wounds which are still open and smarting? An answer might be provided by literature in general, and genre literature in particular. Peruvian writer and journalist Santiago Roncagliolo did something similar with his crime thriller Red April Abril Rojo , originally published in Spanish in and subsequently in an English rendition by veteran translator Edith Grossman it won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The conflict started in and has been largely dormant since , albeit with occasional resurgences of violence.
The plot unfolds around the period of the presidential elections before Holy Week in the year In the context of this campaign, the Government is keen to make a statement that communist insurgents have been defeated. However, during Carnival, in the town of Ayacucho, a gruesome murder raises suspicions that Sendero Luminoso might once again be rearing its head.
And, possibly for this very reason, when this murder is followed by others, all bearing the stamp of a deranged serial killer or ritual murderer, the authorities assign the case to none other than Chacaltana. He is hardly the ideal detective but, in the eyes of his seniors, appears to be an official who can be easily manipulated. As evidenced by the style of the legal reports spread throughout the text, Chacaltana is well-versed in the letter of the law, which he tries to follow with pedantic conscientiousness, but this hardly equips him for the complexities of life and for the intricacies of the tense political climate of his country.
Over the course of the novel, Chacaltana starts to wise up, and this change is not all to the good. Indeed, some unsavoury aspects of his character come to the fore and contributed to some of my dissatisfaction with what is an otherwise engrossing book. As a crime novel, Red April is thrilling and intriguing. Much of its dark feel is given by the elements it borrows from the horror — and particularly the folk horror — genre.
Indeed, we start to realise that the serial killer is borrowing imagery both from Christian traditions linked to Holy Week and from pagan Andean myths and rituals.
It is suggested that underneath the veneer of Christian ritual, the old rites have never died out. As one of the characters puts it: "Ayacucho is a strange place.
The seat of the Wari culture was here, and then the Chanka people, who never allowed themselves to be subjugated by the Incas. And independence in Quinia. And Sendero. This place is condemned to be bathed in blood and fire forever.
To be honest, however, an act of senseless sexual violence towards the end disturbed me much more than the admittedly gruesome crime scene descriptions.
View 1 comment. Shelves: novels. Santiago Roncagliolo has written a novel that is evidently aimed at the popular taste for a mixture of lurid violence, rapid-moving story and surprising twists. If you have seen Alex de la Iglesia's Christmas movie Balada Triste de la Trompeta, you get the idea that this stuff sells.
The intelligent parts of the book drop out of the characters' mouths like the scrolls in medieval paintings. This is story-telling for people who like to see things written in capitals with double underlining and exc Santiago Roncagliolo has written a novel that is evidently aimed at the popular taste for a mixture of lurid violence, rapid-moving story and surprising twists.
This is story-telling for people who like to see things written in capitals with double underlining and exclamation marks in felt-tip pen. Who better than the priest, for example, to give us lectures on Incan mythology, even if he has to stop listening in the confessional to do so? It was an easy read. View all 3 comments. Get one thing in your head: in this country there is no terrorism, by orders from the top. Is that clear? Abril rojo by the Barcelona-based Peruvian author Santiago Roncagliolo was a best-seller in Spain and won the prestigious Premio Alfaguara de Novela in The novel blends both a political perspective on the bloody war between the Sendero Luminoso insurgents and the Peruvian authorities' counterinsurgency forces, an atmospheric murder mystery and a wider perspective on how violence ultimately corrupts and breeds more violence.
Set in the weeks around Holy Week in April , it is told from the perspective of Associate District Prosecutor Felix Chacaltana Saldivar, who has returned from Lima to his native Ayacucho, where the Sendero Luminoso insurgency began.
Chacaltana is a by-the-book functionary, drawn in a rather comic fashion, the sort of person who would rather send a memo than talk to someone: Prosecutor Chacaltana wrote the final period with a grimace of doubt on his lips.
He read the page again, erased a tilde, and added a comma in black ink. Now it was fine. A good report. He had followed all the prescribed procedures, chosen his verbs with precision, and had not fallen into the unrestrained use of adjectives customary in legal texts.
He had a large vocabulary and could replace one term with another. He removed the pages from the typewriter, kept the carbon paper for future documents, and placed each copy of the document in its respective envelope: one for the files, one for the criminal court, one for the case record, and one for the command of the military region. He still had to attach the forensic report. Before going to police headquarters, he wrote once again—as he did every morning—his supply requisition for a new typewriter, two pencils, and a ream of carbon paper.
He had already submitted thirty-six requisitions and kept the signed receipts for all of them. He did not want to become aggressive, but if the supplies did not arrive soon, he could initiate an administrative procedure to demand them more forcefully. When a burned body is found, he is assigned to the case, to his initial pleasure: As he walked, the corpse in Quinua produced a vague mixture of pride and disquiet in him.
It was his first murder in the year he had been back in Ayacucho. It was a sign of progress. Until now, any death had gone directly to Military Justice, for reasons of security. The Office of the Prosecutor received only drunken fights or domestic abuse.
Officially the insurgency is over - and when he comes initially to suspect that the terrorists are back, he encounters strong opposition to his investigation from the local police and representatives of the military, opposition that initially largely takes the form of simply ignoring him. The prosecutor identified himself. The sergeant seemed uncomfortable.
He looked to one side. The prosecutor thought he saw someone, the shadow of someone. Perhaps he was mistaken. The prosecutor heard his voice and another in the room to the side, without being able to make out what they were saying.
In any event, he tried not to hear. That would have constituted a violation of institutional communications. The sergeant returned eight minutes later. On Thursdays the captain only comes in the afternoon. Chacaltana starts to suspect that perhaps a serial killer may be behind them, but who and what is his - or her - motive?
Although purely as a murder mystery though, the novel felt a little disappointing, and rather cliched. The bumbling bureaucrat Chacaltana felt exaggerated, albeit Roncagliolo has commented that the portratal is actually autobiographical: As press officer and "image counsellor", the young Roncagliolo had the task of correcting and presenting reports on atrocities and abuses brought in from the ravaged countryside.
When he fashions Chacaltana, the bumbling do-gooder, as a comic figure in a tragic place, "That was autobiographical, I'm afraid! Many of the things that happened to him, happened to me.
Red April Abril rojo is the English translation from Spanish of a whodunit novel by Santiago Roncagliolo , published in and was awarded the Alfaguara Prize that year. Nonetheless, the after-effects of this clash are evident in the novel as is discussed. Thus it dawns on him that he is able to use his authority for his own designs and file reports that have nothing to do with reality. The novel's ending chronicles his tragic, yet at times comical, descent into madness. Narrated in a lineal manner the novel thus begins with the report on the first murder that was carried out and from which there will come a series of murders that the assistant district attorney investigated.
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