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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very dark but with some black humour......, 30 July 2012
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This review is from: Red April (Paperback)
The main protagonist of Red April is Félix Chacaltana Saldívar, District Prosecutor in Ayacucho, Peru. The date is Easter 2000 and as the religious celebrations are getting under way a body is discovered. Right from the start we realise that Chacaltana is out of his depth - a naÔve and uncertain official who is constantly derided by both the police and the military staff. He believes that the Shining Path terrorists may be making a comeback - but his bosses say this is impossible as the Lima government have firmly stated this cannot happen. More bodies appear and Chacaltana plods on trying to make sense of it all.

But this is much more than a police procedural. Red April is suffused with religious imagery, Peruvian Indian folk memories, terrorism, violence of the state against the people, death squads and mass graves. The threat of the Shining Path is claimed to be over but there is a residue of hate and revenge that has not died. Roncagliolo makes clear how this violence leaves no-one untouched - and we are left with the question of who is worse: A "terrorist" committing murder in an attempt to change a political system or the state machinery that allows torture and death squads to operate with impunity.

Red April is brilliant on so many levels and is brimming with irony and black comedy. Our feeling towards Chacaltana change as he changes - he too becomes affected by the cruelty around him. Peru does not come out well - a country of corruption, graft, fear, complacency and racism.

The plotting is complex (I confess that I got confused over many of the names) and moves at a very fast pace. But be prepared for some extreme violence and some shocking episodes.

A very dark book.......
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Wynne Kelly
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: Coventry, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 878