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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  665 ratings  ·  186 reviews
A coming-of-age story, based on a recent shocking chapter of Argentine history, about a young woman who makes a devastating discovery about her origins with the help of an enigmatic houseguest.

Perla Correa grew up a privileged only child in Buenos Aires, with a cold, polished mother and a straitlaced naval officer father, whose profession she learned early on not to disc
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Knopf (first published 2012)
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If Perla was a theatrical production, I’d jump to my feet, applaud and shout “brava!” This visceral reaction – that something very special has just been experienced – is precisely how I felt upon closing the last page of this spellbinding book.

Where do I even begin? Perhaps with the title: Perla is a college-aged young woman whose father, a Navy Officer, was on the wrong side of the heinous Argentina Dirty Wars. During those wars, many innocent people simply disappeared; they were drugged and t
I'm a guy, a fairly typical guy. I like things that guys tend to like. Baseball. Plain straightforward prose. Stories with big ideas. OK, I deviate from the typical guy likes in that I have a soft spot for opera and musicals. I have, in fact, cried during certain performances of Butterfly and Carmen. But that's not because I have a soft spot for love stories alone; it's because I have a soft spot for love stories set to music. Throw away the music and I'm back in guy mode watching March Madness ...more
Teresa Lukey
Perla is the story of a young woman who has discovered the horrible truth of her existence. Completely caught off guard by the truth of it, she must come to terms with this new knowledge when a mysterious wet man shows up in her living room. This man who has seemingly come from nowhere, with no signs of a break in, cannot talk and only wants water even though he is emaciated.

Right away, the man's presence captivated me. How did he get in to Perla's home? Who is this man? Why does Perla seem to b
Perla by Carolina De Robertis is an ambitious and emotional novel.

The protagonist Perla grew in in Argentina in a privileged family and she has to come to terms with her father’s ugly past as she learns about his part in war crimes that have terrorised the country. Perla understands that her parents were on the wrong side of the conflict but her love for her father is unconditional.

No doubt the concept for this book is excellent and Carolina De Robertis has a unique way of telling a story that m
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is the second book I've tried to read by this author, and I just can't get any traction.
In this one she seems to go for two styles of writing, neither of which works for me.
Style #1 is dreamy and floaty and makes me feel like I'm under water. Or better yet, like I'm lying in a field of poppies....poppies....poppies.... Very soon the psychedelic fairies and butterflies will arrive to explain that someone slipped me some magic mushrooms.
Style #2 is more concrete, but it consists of those p
The Dirty War of Argentina (1975-1983), what dirty legacy has been left by this war on the Argentinian people? An answer to this question, through the distorted /skewed “writing lens” of magical realism, is what this novel offers you. Bizarrely enough, although the magical reality portrayed is nonsensical, you get an honest, a perceptive and a heart wrenching idea of the consequences of this war. I cannot say more without giving significant spoilers.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the
switterbug (Betsey)
State-sponsored terrorism during Argentina’s Dirty War was employed in order to eradicate political subversives. Although the junta claimed that their repression tactics were aimed at radical guerilla groups, it was actually enforced against the general population. Years later, there is still an unaccounted for number—over 30,000—of “los desaparecidos,” (The Disappeared) the people that were abducted and tortured, or thrown from airplanes into the ocean.

PERLA is the story that takes place after
Zohar -
Perla by Car­olina De Rober­tis is a his­tor­i­cal fic­tion book about Argentina’s Dirty War. The author is a daugh­ter to Uruguayan par­ents, but her grand­par­ents were Argen­tineans in exile.

Perla, a young woman and a uni­ver­sity stu­dent, seeks to find answers. The tra­di­tion in her fam­ily is to not to ask ques­tions, espe­cially about her father’s activ­i­ties dur­ing the time known as Argentina’s Dirty War. As Perla grows up, she sep­a­rates her fam­ily life from her per­sonal life.

Anyone who loved Julia Alvarez's "In the Time of the Butterflies" needs to read this book. It's as simple as that.

Perla is a beautiful, smart University student struggling to come to terms with her father's participation in Argentina's Dirty War. When one of "The Disappeared" shows up in her living room, tortured and broken, she is forced to face the facts of her father's involvement. I would say it is a coming of age story, but for Perla it takes place not in adolescence but much later, a re-c
Thing Two
Perla is a gorgeous novel written about an ugly time in Argentina's recent history. It is the story of one young woman raised to adore her military father, who gradually discovers who he is and, in the process, who she is, too. If you can appreciate magical realism, and are curious about South American politics, you'll appreciate this book.

May 23, 2012 ReviewsByMolly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to ReviewsByMolly by: TLC Book Tours
Carolina De Robertis has created a fantastic drama of finding oneself, and life during a terrible time. I chose to review this book because of Perla's father.....he was a Navy man, and so was my father, so I love reading books that involve the Navy, for it brings me back to my childhood.

Born in 1981, two years before the "Dirty War" ended, I never really knew of or heard about the Dirty War before now. But, that did not stop me from falling in love with this story. Perla's father was a Navy Off
Apr 30, 2012 Cindi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Perla by Carolina De Robertis is why I read books. Mesmerizing, poetic, enthralling, emotionally consuming, and heart breaking, Perla touched my heart, opened my mind and then reminded me of the power of hope and redemption.

Perla is a young woman in Argentina, born during the "Dirty War" in the late 1970's and early 1980's. 30,000 civilians disappeared at the hands of the military regime. Perla's father is just one of the Navy officers granted immunity for the terrible crimes against humanity. P
Before stumbling upon this book, I had never even heard of Argentina's Dirty War, which took place in the late 70's and early 80's. Argentina's right wing military dictatorship kidnapped, held, and tortured people, and many were drugged, boarded onto airplanes, then dropped in the Atlantic Ocean to drown. It is estimated that there are up to 30,000 desaparecidos from the Dirty War. How could I have missed that?

Having lived in Chile, I knew about Pinochet's military coup and dictatorship, and th
Perla by Carolina De Robertis (giveaway following the review) is captivating and intoxicating in its setting, mystery, and the psychological unraveling of the main protagonist, Perla. She’s growing into a young woman, but her cloistered existence threatens to explode until she begins to release herself in books and in her relationship with Gabriel.

The past haunts everything around her, though she does not know it at first. She is proud of her family and her father’s naval career and her mother’s
Bonnie Brody
Perla is a book to marvel at. The language and writing are magnificent. The narrative and characterizations are sublime. Together, they all work to carry the reader away to another land, another time and submerse us in the world that Carolina di Robertis has created.

Perla is the daughter of a navy officer, a man who participated in The Process, which some people call The Bad Years, during the dictatorship of General Jorge Videla- the dictadura - in Argentina during the 1970's and 1980's. During
Only got about a third through this book before giving up in exasperation. I have no clue what the raves are for. Or rather, I have a lot of clues what the raves are for, but subject matter isn't enough to make a book worthwhile. There's always an interesting story to be told about military oppression in Argentina and the Disappeared, but this book amazingly made it as uninteresting as possible with its heavyhanded narration and 'literary' circumventing. The poetic flourishes of a narrator who w ...more
Set in modern day Argentina, Perla receives a visit from an unexpected guest, her hidden past. She is startled to discover a strange man wearing no clothes in her living room. He only requests water, which he chews as if it is a feast. The stranger then secretes large amounts of water with his remembrances.

Perla has lived a relatively privileged life. She is the daughter of a Navy officer and her mother stays at home. However the country has recently undergone some political turmoil. Thousands
INCREDIBLY MOVING. When I read the book jacket I was intrigued about the idea of a novel set in Argentina during the time of the "Dirty War" where several thousand people became known as the "disappeared". I was surprised I had never heard about any of this (my world history knowledge is not fabulous) and wanted to learn more. The approach is an unusual one - daughter of career military father left alone in house during vacation meets man who mysteriously appears in her living room dripping wet ...more
I always prefer good fiction to dry history. Statistics on the tens of thousands of people missing during Latin American dictatorships are too much for me to comprehend in my relatively comfortable and logical world. To understand such a violent and brutal world of these societies on an emotional level (which is where I live most essential life), I need to look at history through the lens of fiction. By presenting this reality within the experience of fictional characters, an author can help me ...more
Rosemary Heller
this was one of the best books that i have read in a long time. As a matter of fact, I read it again as soon as I was finished so that I could savor the wonderful, express language. This is not an easy, nor comfortable book to read as it deals with one of the most shameful periods in Argentina's history. During the time of the "dirty war" that was waged on intellectuals and dissidents who were resisting the military junta that was in power during the 70's. Thousands ( it is said to number 30 tho ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I wrote in one GoodReads status update that this book "has everything I love in it -- politics, dreamy narrative, violence wrought more prettily than love, complicated characters, deceptive simplicity..."

Set in 2001 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the story follows Perla, a college student who discovers a water-logged specter in her living room. The man is one of the victims of Argentina's war against dissidents and critics, cruelly tortured before his horrible murder.

Perla, now in her early 20s,
In the late seventies and early eighties, Argentina was ruled by a military junta that came to power in a violent coup. The junta waged what was known as the Dirty War against guerillas and other leftists, leading to the “disappearance” and death of as many as 30,000 people, including pregnant women whose babies were often sent to live with members of the regime. While I knew that Argentina had experienced long bouts of political unrest, thanks to the likes of Evita, I had never heard of the gen ...more
The story of a loving father/daughter relationship gone awry. What happens when a stranger visits you and shares information about your father that you never knew...or didn't you? Perla is based on the stories of the Lost/Disappearing people of the 70s as a result of the abuse caused by the then military (dictatorship) rule. I was intially very engaged in the storyline because of the subject was something different for me...and had the author stayed true to this storyline my rating m ...more
Diane S.
This is a novel about Argentina, about the men and women who "disappeared"under their dictatorship and about the mothers and grandmothers who protested in the square demanding the return of their son, daughters and grandchildren. It is a novel about a young woman named Perla, the secrets in her house and the truths she does not want to face. I was first drawn to this novel by the cover and the title, before I even knew what this book was about. The prose is elegant and beautiful, even when at ti ...more
At the start I had some problems with the nature of the stranger who came to visit and struggled a little until I asked myself how his experience is any different than dying and going to "heaven" as he reunited with the other spirits in the sea. As I let go of my "disbelief" I could truly be moved by the metaphor his presence represented and Perla's struggles to come to terms with her past and the deception of her parents. I was moved to tears in the final chapters as she works through her sense ...more
Political turmoil in Ethiopa and Afghanistania turned upside down the lives of the protagonists in "Cutting for Stone" and "The Kite Runner." I thought the same thing would happen concerning Argentina in "Perla." Unfortunately, the author did not develop the depth of character or complexity of plot. Nevertheless, de Robertis is a good writer and I did learn a lot about the consequences of The Dirty Wars. The theme of identity just wasn't examined as thoroughly or as subtly to engage me as comple ...more
Ok...I know I have a tendancy to say this about all of the books that I like, but, this book is amazing! I loved Carolina de Robertis' first book, Invisible Mountain, so I was already a fan. But Perla is so beautiful, disturbing and thought provoking all at the same time. I love her style of writing, very lyrical with a touch of magical realism. I had never read about 'the disappeared' of Argentina, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but Carolina has brought it to life in a strong, poing ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Pam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Pam by: Gisele
Shelves: chapter-chat, 2013
This book really took me by surprise. I am someone who really doesn't care for magical realism and this book contains an element of it. But somehow, in this novel it really worked. I actually think the story would not have been as compelling had it been told in a more "literal" style. I was riveted by Perla's search for truth in exploring her family's role in Argentina's deposed military dictatorship. A great story about truth, identity and family. 4 stars - I REALLY LIKED IT.
Doriana Bisegna
If I could give this book a 6 star I would.

This book blew me away not only for the writing but for the story about Argentina's Dirty War and The Disappeared. During the 50's and 60's, Argentina's military took over the Peron government and thousands of its citizens disappeared. All those who defied or were thought to be dissidents were captured, tortured and never seen again. The offspring of the disappeared also disappeared being adopted by high ranking officials etc...

De Robertis creates a st
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The Armchair Trav...: * Perla Discussion 7 4 Oct 01, 2014 05:52PM  
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Carolina De Robertis is the author of Perla and The Invisible Mountain, which was an international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, the recipient of Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize, and a Best Book of 2009 according to the San Francisco Chronicle, O, The Oprah Magazine, and BookList. She is the translator of Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai, which was just made into a feature film, and Roberto A ...more
More about Carolina De Robertis...
The Invisible Mountain The Gods of Tango: A Novel Bonsaï Immigrant Voices: 21st Century Voices

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“No, I wanted to say, he didn't cut off her hands because he didn't have to, he had cut them off long before, with years of keeping all authority in his own palms, all the rules and all the power and all the answers emanating from him and no one else. And if you don't understand that, if you've never been in such a family, then you can't know the way the mind shackles itself and amputates its own limbs so adeptly that you never think to miss them, never think that you had anything so obscene as choice.” 8 likes
“There's that feeling that comes when you read something and the lines speak directly to you, and to you only, even though the person who wrote them died long before you were born, or, even if alive, has no idea you exist. The words seep right into your mind. They pour into your secret hollows and take their shape, a perfect fit, like water. And you are slightly less alone in the universe, because you have been witnessed, because you have been filled, because someone once found words for things within you that you couldn't yourself name – something gesturing not only toward what you are, but what you could become.” 6 likes
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