Red April

Santiago Roncagliolo

Book - 2010

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FICTION/Roncagli Santiago
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Mystery fiction
Suspense fiction
New York : Vintage International 2010, c2009.
1st Vintage International ed
Item Description
Originally published: New York : Pantheon Books, c2009.
Physical Description
271 p. ; 21 cm
Main Author
Santiago Roncagliolo (-)
Other Authors
Edith Grossman, 1936- (-)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Because it lies between Cuzco, the Inca capital, and Lima, the capital of the Spaniards, and was the ancient home of the Chancas, who successfully fought off even the Incas, the Peruvian city of Ayacucho is said to be doomed to wallow in blood forever. This was true especially during the 1980s and 1990s, when indiscriminate slaughter by the Shining Path brought on the equally savage counterinsurgency of the Fujimori government. Soon after district prosecutor Felix Chacaltana Saldivar is transferred from Lima to Ayacucho, he grimly undertakes to investigate the case of a charred body discovered in a hayloft during Holy Week of 2000. The unambitious prosecutor gets sucked into a chaotic world far from the ordered words and numbered sentences of his legal codes and breaks down, unable to fathom the illogic of killers fighting killers in a continuous spiral of fire and blood. Roncagliolo, the youngest winner ever of the prestigious Alfaguara Prize for this novel, first published in 2006, offers a riveting and highly relevant tale of the vicious circle of terrorism and retaliation.—Jack Shreve, Allegany Coll. of Maryland, Cumberland, MD [Page 71]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Roncagliolo's stunning debut, about the brutality of Peruvian society under the Fujimori regime, merits comparison to the work of J.M. Coetzee. In 2000, associate district prosecutor Flix Chacaltana Saldvar, who's returned to the province of Ayacucho from Lima, clashes with his superiors after the discovery of a charred and mutilated corpse. Rigidly adhering to bureaucratic procedure, Saldvar demands that an official police report on the crime be filed, despite the active resistance of the police and the local military commander. The prosecutor's refusal to abort his inquiry threatens the official line that the Shining Path terrorists are a thing of the past. Eventually, he's reassigned to help monitor elections, only to encounter more corruption. Within the frame of a puzzling whodunit, Roncagliolo crafts an unsparing view of life controlled by a repressive and paranoid government. A mother fixation, social awkwardness and a desire to impress others lend complexity to the protagonist. (Apr.) [Page 45]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Lima prosecutor Fâelix Chacaltana Saldâivar becomes the investigator in a mysterious murder, discovering links to the terrorist group, the Shining Path, and mass graves that expose the destruction and corruption of Peruvian society during the Fujimori regime.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A chilling political thriller set at the end of Peru's grim war between Shining Path terrorists and a morally bankrupt government counterinsurgency.
Associate District Prosecutor Felix Chacaltana Saldivar is a by-the-book prosecutor wading through life. Two of his greatest pleasures are writing mundane reports and speaking to his long-dead mother. Everything changes, however, when he is asked to investigate a bizarre and brutal murder: the body was found burnt beyond recognition and a cross branded into its forehead. Adhering to standard operating procedures, Chacaltana begins a meticulous investigation, but when everyone he speaks to meets with an unfortunate and untimely end, he realizes that his quarry may be much closer to home. With action rising in chorus to Peru’s Holy Week, Red April twists and turns racing toward a riveting conclusion.