Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mariana Enríquez - Our Part of the Night

Portuguese cover
Comment: This is another book I borrowed from a person who often lends me books she believes I might like. Sometimes that happens, others not so much...

This book hasn't yet been translated into english (it's in the works from what I saw) so I won't take too long talking about it when there isn't a lot of information. The title I used for the post is a literal translation.

In this book we meet father and son as they travel though Argentina running from something because the father, Juan, is trying to protect his young son from the influence of those who control him and his special abilities. As the story develops we learn Juan is a medium, he is able to contact a strange being, which we know as the Darkness, some kind of demon which demands sacrifices and Juan knows when he is too weak or when he dies, his son will be persuaded to take his place an he wants to protect him from such fate. However, this is a complex story and situation, there's more to it than good vs evil. Will Juan succeed or will his son be trapped like he is by the power of the powerful family who ants to control the Darkness?

I thought this would go in the way of a classic good vs evil kind of plot but the truth is that the author is known for her complex and intricate stories - I'd use the word "confusing" - which means this isn't as easy as that. What I summarized above is the starting point of the book and at first I was enjoying it, there seemed to be this weird urgent feel to Juan's attempt to protect his son and the reasons why weren't as obvious as that right away. I was quite curious to see what was actually going on, why such secretive behavior and unsaid words. The whole vibe was quite addictive and I was turning the pages eagerly, to discover what was the big secret.

I should say this is my first book by the author, so I can only compare with other readers' opinions and, for the most part they are positive, that this is epic and amazing and how she included so many themes that this is more than just a story about a father and a son. I can see why people say this now that I have finished but that special feel I had from the beginning didn't last much longer. There are some time jumps, from the present to past and so on, giving context to some things but I started to lose interest. Everything was turning too confusing, the direction of what was happening went everywhere and for me, that peak moment I hoped for never seemed to happen. 

Exchanging some words with the person who lent me the book, I can see why the endgame of this was the son's salvation but the path to that certainly didn't appeal to me, it was just too confusing, disperse... I think this could have gained with a more direct approach in how to go from one situation to another. 

I'd say the issue for me is the narrative line. Some things really felt like weren't important for what was happening and it seemed like it was just the way the author could insert political and social content. Which is fine, actually, but then the story felt too conflicted and spread into too many directions and I stopped managing to keep up. The writing itself and the mood, the characters and some situations were all good but the way the plot advances certainly ruined things for me. It gt to a point I wondered what did this even matter, what was the point of all those things the author included which seemed to have no impact on the main plot?

I suppose it is my own fault, that I wasn't able to understand the book conveniently and I can conclude it wasn't for me, but that aside, there were still interesting scenes here. I just don't think I'll remember them fondly enough to want to re-read at any time.
Grade: 4/10

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