Read The World — Los Ejércitos — Evelio Rosero (Colombia)
Blurb from goodreads.com, please scroll down for my review.
Ismail, the profesor, is a retired teacher in a small Colombian town where he passes the days pretending to pick oranges while spying on his neighbor Geraldina as she lies naked in the shade of a ceiba tree on a red floral quilt. The garden burns with sunlight; the macaws laugh sweetly.
Otilia, Ismail’s wife, is ashamed of his peeping and suggests that he pay a visit to Father Albornoz. Instead, Ismail wanders the town visiting old friends, plagued by a tangle of secret memories. “Where have I existed these years? I answer myself; up on the wall, peering over.”
When the armies slowly arrive, the profesor’s reveries are gradually taken over by a living hell. His wife disappears and he must find her. We learn that not only gentle, grassy hillsides surround San Joseacute; but landmines and coca fields. The reader is soon engulfed by the violence of Rosero’s narrative that is touched not only with a deep sadness, but an extraordinary tenderness.
Quote : “It begins to get dark; the street light bulbs are lit: yellow and dim, they cast large shadows around, as if instead of illuminating they darkened.”
Los Ejercitos by Evelio Roserio
This book taught me that war is tough, no matter how old you are.
This book was so very sad and depressing, especially at the end I started a new book straight away so that this one didn’t get stuck in my head too long as I found this to be an exhausting but gripping read.
A novel full of drama, written from the point of view of a 70 year old retired professor who lives with his 60 year old wife. He is a dirty old man, watching his naked neighbour, and lusting after most other women and girls in the neighbourhood. Although this is not a sexual book, this only continues in the first few pages, it gives you an idea of the life of Ismael.
The reader knows the war is coming.we just don’t know when, and with that knowledge I thought it took way too long to actually for the armies to actually arrive, during this time, Ismael walks around chatting to people and you learn all about the rural village and it’s day to day goings on, which I thought were interesting, as Ismael is a great character.
When the armies finally arrive everything changes. From the eyes of Ismael we see some horrible sights, fighting, rape, destruction, and death. You can see the fear in the villagers as they try to survive.
It is written softly, with no strong words or details, but you know exactly what is happening, with the main subject being the disappearance of some of the characters.
It is very well written, you can feel what is going on, see the neighbours, enjoy a beer or a coffee in the cafe with friends, and take a walk around the village.
This is not a happy book, but it is very gripping.
I am giving this book 4 stars. The next country we are visiting is Trinidad and Tobago.
Originally published at http://readinginecuador.wordpress.com on December 20, 2021.