- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Books; First Paperback Edition edition (1 Jan. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1843548313
- ISBN-13: 978-1843548317
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 577,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Red April Paperback – 1 Jan 2011
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More About the Author
'We united to salute the very special combination of narrative prowess, psychological drama and social revelation with which Roncagliolo's novel rewards its page-riffling reader.' --Boyd Tonkin, Independent Foreign Fiction Prize chairman
`Riveting... As the moral line dissolves between terrorist and counter-terrorist... Edith Grossman's versatile translation spans hard-boiled noir, punctilious legalese, and the illiterate scrawls of a would-be serial killer... Red April is rooted in Peru's past and present, but resonates far beyond.' --Guardian
`Violence stalks the pages of this... sophisticated work of terrifying cunning; here is a novel to make one gasp and wonder anew at the furtive extremes of human behaviour... A dark and almost unhinged display.' Irish Times --Irish Times
`The meticulous documenting of barbarities, magical beliefs, the colourful details of Holy Week... rites of blood and torture... the extreme cynicism of government... The terrible story of a society without hope.'
--Independent on Sunday
From the Publisher
Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011: 'We united to salute the very special combination of narrative prowess, psychological drama and social revelation with which Roncagliolo's novel rewards its page-riffling reader.' Boyd Tonkin, lead judge
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Top Customer Reviews
However the burnt body is the first in a series of killings during Holy Week in Ayacucho all baring striking similarities soon Felix believes he is on the trail of a serial killer which leads him into the offices of politicians, the crypts of priests, police stations and prisons and through all walks of life as he tries to solve the mystery. This of course gives Roncagliolo the perfect way of showing you how things are in Peru from girls who have to marry their rapists, the terrorism outside of the main cities and the corruption. Some could say it's a biased view and yet you get the feeling the only sides there are out there are the bad and the worse. Back to the plot, well I don't want to give too much away. I will say that it starts slowly but surely before building to a heady, verging on almost confusing, climax which you won't expect - despite the fact there are quite a lot of clues from the start.
One of the books weaknesses and strengths is Felix himself.Read more ›
Roncagliolo's tale is a powerful one - though it sometimes feels as though he is attempting to compress too much of his country's past; its sins and its suffering; into a form that is too short to take the strain. The detective hero Chacaltana is a fascinating character - his mania for words and order; his conversations with his dead mother; his dreams of redemption and his nightmares of disorder - he makes for an unlikely but compelling anti-hero turned hero.
As a thriller, it is compelling - tales of serial killers are so resolutely American and urban, that the rural setting of Ayacucho is refreshing, and Roncagliolo's flair for the morbid and the visceral is unquestionable. As a document of contemporary Peru - about Shining Path, the misdeeds of the Peruvian government, and the complicity of Aldo Fujimori in suppressing terrorists threat and the subsequent cover up - it is powerful and thought-provoking. If it sometimes lacks the sweep and depth of James Ellroy or David Peace on similar territory, this is to compare it with the finest of the genre: and Red April is a fine novel - brave, intelligent and well written - a worthy debut, its ambition and execution are considerable and it is a fascinating read.
The subject is an appallingly violent period in the history of Latin America - the war between the Maoist guerrillas of Sendero Luminoso and the Peruvian state. The setting is Easter 2000, Holy Week in Ayacucho.
We begin with crime fiction. The novel obeys some of the rules and realises some of the expectations of that genre - well to begin with. The cases are a series of brutal murders.
The investigator is Assistant Prosecutor Felix Chacaltana Saldivar, a curious man who initially took my sympathy and even affection. He is a deeply conscientious official, naïve and honest. He left Lima after being dumped by his wife for lack of ambition. For good measure he has a curious relationship with his mother , his mamacita. He is now in a backwater, he believes, where the war is definitely over – so his superiors insist, and then the corpses show up. As the body count rises he determinedly follows procedures with a faith in official justice. This faith is to be sorely tested.
There is a love interest in Edith, a young waitress in a restaurant with seriously rare cuisine.
Black comedy merges with sadism as the narrative flows into horror. A prolonged description of rape I found shocking. By the end we are in a disturbing world that mixes the supernatural and the psychotic. As dark April, the cruellest month, turns towards May it feels like the apocalypse has come to the Andes. We have descended into hell.
I was reminded of the Secret in Their Eyes – about the dirty war in Argentina. There are similarities between Saldivar and Benjamin Chapparro, the justice official in Sacheri’s novel. However, Saldivar lacks a basic humanity.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Confusing, appalling stereotypes of Peruvian characters or hold on, are they European stereotypes or are they real pictures of characters in Peru? Who knows? Read morePublished 20 months ago by A. E. Dickinson
Set during the first of the elections in 2000 - some months before Fujimori fled Peru and faxed his resignation from a hotel in Japan - this novel is based around a set of murders... Read morePublished on 8 Dec. 2013 by KLQ
The book is very confusing, until the end no one in my book group was sure 'who had done it'. So that seems intentional.Published on 17 Aug. 2013 by mourijn bok
OMG what a great read. I was gripped and couldnt put it down. was interesteing to read something set in russiaPublished on 8 Jun. 2013 by tracy-anne reynolds
I'm not quite sure what this book is. There is a series of brutal murders and a perpetrator unmasked so I guess it is a crime novel but in some. Read morePublished on 21 April 2013 by Elaine Tomasso
This could never have been written by a comfortable european. It is exciting and sometimes horrifying and mind blowingly fascinating.Published on 2 Aug. 2012 by Mr. N. G. AUSTIN
The main protagonist of Red April is Félix Chacaltana Saldívar, District Prosecutor in Ayacucho, Peru. Read morePublished on 30 July 2012 by Wynne Kelly
Red April, winner of the Independent foreign fiction prize this year (2011) and the Premio Alfaguara de Novela prize in 2006, is a highly recommended book. Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2011 by Maxine Clarke
This would really have been better as a political novel, rather than a thriller or a character study of a disturbed solitary. Read morePublished on 17 Jun. 2011 by terence dooley