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The Dark Bride [Hardcover]

Laura Restrepo
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Feb 2003
Sayonara is a beautiful Indian prostitute of Tora, a city in the Colombian forest. Once a month the oil riggers of the Tropical Oil Company descend upon the city, where Sayonara is a legend and no one is immune to her charms. Sayonara rules their squalid paradise like a queen, until one day - against the sage advice of her 'Godmother' - she violates the unwritten rules of her profession by falling in love with a man she can never have. Sayonara's unrequited passion has tragic consequences not only for herself, but for all those whose lives ultimately depend on the Tropical Oil Company. A lush romantic novel about the world of prostitutes in Barrancaberma, Colombia, inspired by historical events. Full of tragedy and compassion, THE DARK BRIDE lovingly recreates the lusty, heartrending world of Colombian prostitutes and the men of the oil fields who are entranced by them.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (3 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385604491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385604499
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,687,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A thought provoking and romantic read.' -- Backbeat

'An enthralling read.' -- Irish Examiner

'Full of tantalizing repartee and details too piquant and quirky to have been invented.' -- New York Times

'If you're a fan of Isabel Allende, you'll love this exotic tale. Beautifully written.' -- Company

'Restrepo deftly evokes a tropical landscape ... an illuminating book.' -- The Guardian

'South American traditions clash with human deprivation ... After the success of this, more of her books will surely follow.' -- What's On

'The marriage of journalistic skill and literary imagination ... Restrepo weaves an intriguing story.' -- Miami Herald

'Well-researched fictional biography with a feminist twist ... a compulsive read.' -- Amanda Hopkinson, The Independent,

From the Back Cover

Sayonara is a beautiful Indian prostitute of Tora, a city in the Colombian forest. Once a month the oil riggers of the Tropical Oil Company descend upon the city, where Sayonara is a legend and no one is immune to her charms. Sayonara rules their squalid paradise like a queen, until one day - against the sage advice of her 'Godmother' - she violates the unwritten rules of her profession by falling in love with a man she can never have. Sayonara's unrequited passion has tragic consequences not only for herself, but for all those whose lives ultimately depend on the Tropical Oil Company.

A lush romantic novel about the world of prostitutes in Barrancaberma, Colombia, inspired by historical events. Full of tragedy and compassion, THE DARK BRIDE lovingly recreates the lusty, heartrending world of Colombian prostitutes and the men of the oil fields who are entranced by them.


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Then slowly the night would open and the miracle unfold. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Read from Colombian author 9 Aug 2008
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book at an English book shop in Buenos Aires without having heard of the author before. I couldn't put it down and think its a strong contender for the best book I have read this year.

The book is about a child called Sayonara who, at very early age, decides to become a prostitute and arrives at a town in rural Colombia to pursue her chosen career.

She is taken in by a woman who becomes her Madam and is integrated into the community of prostitutes in the dusty town. Despite the gritty subject matter, Dark Bride has many funny moments.

Dark Bride is a story of ambition, frustrated love and chamaraderie among women. It is written in a style that keeps you reading and wanting more.

I am not sure how well known Laura Restrepo is as an author in the UK (I had never heard of her), but I would really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading latin american authors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Delirium 1 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book after reading and enjoying the newer novel called Delirium. This was very full of stereotypes about culture of working men in Colombia and not as well crafted novel.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical journalism? 20 Oct 2002
By dltstl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I flipped this book over and saw that the blurbs on the back were by Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I knew this was going to be the book I read next.
The form of this book is journalistic--the narrator is a reporter doing research into the life of a mysterious and legendary young prostitute named Sayonara. Because the stories come filtered through the reporter and her interviews, there is some distance inherent in the tone. Yet because Sayonara changed every life she touched--including that of the reporter, who only comes to know her through a picture and stories--the passion of her story comes through, even secondhand.
The book is set in Colombia's oil fields and in the brothels of a nearby town. The focus of the narrative remains narrow, mining the intimacies of the lives of the prostitutes and oil workers who turn to them for comfort (and receive it, in all senses of the word) once a month.
Yet because their lives take place against the backdrop of the Columbian political and military situation, and the virtual colonization by American oil interests, there is another level to the story--at least insofar as all this affects the prostitutes and oilworkers.
Not everyone is going to like this book. There is no driving plot. Instead, we start with a loose frame of a story and then gradually fill in the details, layer by layer. But if you like a literary, richly detailed book with an unforgettable cast of unusual characters, this might just be the book for you.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love and survival 11 Dec 2004
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Under a shining moon in the Columbian jungle, the shabby village of La Catunga transforms itself to a place of merriment, music and beautiful women under the colored lights that connote the ladies' different nationalities. These women nightly await the petroleros, men who work for the American-owned Tropical Oil Company, who toil in the hot jungle during the days and spend their evenings drinking and seeking the favors of the women of La Catunga.

Columbia is the country of the Sacred Heart, common language peppered with references to a variety of saints, the Blessed Mother and the Sacred Heart; religion is wound tightly into a culture that must endure much and suffer greatly. Religion is hope, the promise of a better life after death. In sharp contrast to their religious beliefs, the women do what they must to survive and often all that is available to them is the sale of their bodies for the pleasure of men with a few coins in their pockets. These are businesswomen, who sell their bodies, rarely their hearts: "from the waist up is the soul, from the wait down is business." For the few who lose themselves in dreams of romance, only heartbreak awaits.

Sayonara arrives in the barrio with nothing but the clothes on her back. A cart driver delivers her to the door of the aging, but still beautiful, Todos los Santos, who takes the wild girl into her care, preparing her for a future as one of the most legendary of the women of the village; men will tremble with adoration at Sayonara's rare combination of helplessness and arrogance. Todos los Santos accepts the young girl willingly, recognizing the potential under the layers of dirt and wild blue-black hair that tumbles about the child, determined that this wild young creature might "prosper in the pursuit of survival".

This is an impossible love story in a place where love is forbidden. Narrating as a reporter seeking to separate truth from rumor, the author delves into the history of the legendary Sayonara from those who know her best: the old woman who trains her for success in the life, the cart driver who craves her obsessively, but is unable to sort the girl of the day from the woman of the night and the petrolero who loves her, but has a past he cannot escape.

Dark Bride is a compilation of memories, some truthful, some wishful, all contributing to the ultimate mystery of Sayonara, forever a creature of myth to the women of the village. Her power is their power in a world where simple survival exacts a heavy price and an incredibly lush jungle surrounds the most insidious poverty, juxtaposing the harsh realities of Columbia, where beauty coexists with despair and all is wrapped in the vague mysticism of religious belief. This is a land whose poor suffer deeply from the consequences of poverty, yet remain devoted to the religious convictions inextricably entwined with everyday life. The reader is drawn ever deeper into the small village of waiting women as the journalist unearths the truth of their existence in the dark of night, where fate rules with an unforgiving mien, but prayers of fallen women fill the skies on their way to a watching God. Luan Gaines/ 2004.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Bride is an incredible tale... 28 Mar 2014
By Gregory M. Uba - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A wonderful example of Latin-American writing. Restrepo's writing manages to challenge perceptions and biases while remaining an enchanting example of storytelling.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The essence of Colombia 26 July 2004
By M. Gordon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I very much liked this book for several reasons. It gives you the flavor of Colombia. It describes the life of the putas from their perspective. It also is very romantic and kind of a poor man's Garcia Marquez. A very enjoyable read for me.
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