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The Neruda Case: A Novel (Cayetano Brulé #6)

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  547 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Roberto Ampuero's novels starring the wonderfully roguish Cayetano Brulé are an international sensation. In The Neruda Case, listeners are introduced to Cayetano as he takes on his first case as a private eye. Set against the fraught political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro's Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin, this mystery spans countries, cultures, and p ...more
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Published July 30th 2012 by Tantor Media (first published August 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,369)
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Zuzana
Aug 08, 2014 Zuzana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Není to detektivka, není to román, není to životopis, není to o politice a revoluci (nejen té chilské), není to o východním bloku, není to o lásce. A všechno to to je. Od každého malý kousek. Jediné, o čem to opravdu není, je Jan Neruda (kdyby si jako někdo podle názvu myslel).
Není to špatné, není to geniální. Je to dobré. Dost dobré a zajímavé na to, abyste si to přečetli.
Člověk, který není detektiv, je básníkem najat jako soukromý detektiv, aby se vydal hledat lékaře, který asi není lékař a vl
...more
Nancy Oakes
first: I bought a real copy of this book, so this ARC is yours if you want it. You have to live in the US and be the first to leave a comment. I'll pay postage.

second: the review:
Had I done my homework, as I usually do when I come across a new author, I would have learned that Roberto Ampuero is the author of an entire series featuring detective Cayetano Brulé. Beginning in 1993 with ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann? (Who Killed Christian Kustermann?) Brulé has been involved in several cases;
...more
Trish
Chile. The 1970s. The beloved but flawed Allende government falls to the infamously repressive Pinochet government. But just before this, Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning poet-in-residence, tasks Cayetano Brulé, Cuban exile, to find an early lover…to see if the child she bears shortly after their Mexican love affair is indeed his own. This 2012 translation of a work published in 2008 gives us an intimate, if fictional, portrait of Pablo Neruda. Author Ampuero, in an afterword to the novel, ...more
Pete Wung
The problem for Latin American language authors is that people have a tendency to compare to some pretty heavy hitters, like Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa, or Luis Borges. That is patently unfair of course, but people will carry with them these expectations into the book.

So the beginning of The Neruda Case was somewhat unpromising. Not very dramatic, somewhat pedestrian and actually kind of slow. In the middle of the beginning paragraph, I started to wonder whether it was the translation that was
...more
Özgür Daş
Cayetano Brulé, Roberto Ampuero'nun romanda Pablo Neruda tarafından ünlü Belçika'lı polisiye yazarı Georges Simenon 'un kitaplarını okumaya teşvik ederek dedektifliğe başlamasını sağlayan karakteri. Simenon'un Jules Maigret'si gibi Cayetano Brulé'de Ampuero'nun polisiye romanlarının kahramanı.

Roman '73 darbesinin yaklaştığı zamanlarda Neruda'nın ağırlaşan hastalığının da etkisiyle geçmişindeki bir sırrı açıklığa kavuşturmak istemesini konu alıyor. Cayetano Brulé bir yandan Neruda'nın geçmişind
...more
Thebooktrail
Literary tourism? See the locations of the book here - link: Booktrail of Neruda case



A mystery set against the backdrop of the Chilean 1973 coup which paints an interesting portrait of the poet Pablo Neruda

Story in a nutshell

Cayetano Brulé, is Cuban but lives in Valparaiso, Chile. At a dinner party one evening he comes across the poet Pablo Neruda who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, just two years previously. As they talk, Neruda provides him with a challenge – to find a man he has n
...more
Linda
Jun 18, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, 2012
Notified May 31 that I have won a First Reads copy--hooray!
My uncorrected proof copy arrived this afternoon--June 7--let the reading begin.

English language readers finally have the opportunity to read the writing of Roberto Ampuero and what an opportunity it is! Ampuero is an internationally acclaimed and translated writer and his Maigret wannabe detective, Cayetano Brule, has been entertaining readers for years. We first meet Brule as he answers a summons from the supremely admired poet Pablo N
...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jun 02, 2013 Meg - A Bookish Affair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013
"The Neruda Case" is a great book is a mystery that stars the famous poet (and one of my very favorite poets personally), Pablo Neruda. I love his poetry so much (my husband and I actually had one of his poems read at our wedding as one of the readings) so I was very excited to get a fictional glimpse of what the man was actually like.

Mysteries are not my usual fare but I really enjoyed this one. Through Cayetano taking on Pablo Neruda's case, we get to learn more about Pablo Neruda and the pol
...more
Barbara Rhine
May 13, 2014 Barbara Rhine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plus Cuba, Mexico, Bolivia and East Berlin. How often do you find a novel that rolls through all these geographic locations? “The Neruda Case,” by Roberto Ampuero is a thriller of sorts by an established Chilean novelist. This is the first of his books to be translated into English.

The absolutely unusual aspect of this book is that–from a feminist perspective–it deconstructs the personal choices of Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet. To find a Cuban doctor who might be able to cure his cancer
...more
DROPPING OUT
Aug 19, 2012 DROPPING OUT rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ampuero, an award winning writer from Chile and currently a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa, has written some five novels involving the detective, Cayetano Brulé. The Neruda Case (which was originally published in 2008) was not the first published in the series, but chronicles how Brulé set out on the path to become a private eye.

The book's narrative begins circa 2008, but is almost an entirely a flashback to several weeks in 1973, when the most fa
...more
Emily
Jun 22, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received an uncorrected proof of this book as a winner in a Goodreads First Reads drawing.

The occasionally beautiful narration, the fact that I love the setting, and my love of Neruda's poetry kept me reading as long as I did. Regarding the setting, I am fascinated by Chile during the time of Salvador Allende, and I studied abroad in Cuba.

I really wanted to read it, but I was unable to finish this book. It may have been a lost in translation issue or a personal style quibble on my part, or e
...more
Tom
Jun 11, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this advance copy as a winner in a Goodreads First Reads drawing.

Seeing it is the first novel of a long-running series, I certainly hope that they take the time to translate more, because the book was highly enjoyable. It features a detective, Cayetano Brule, who is introduced to the profession in an unusual way, and goes on what is truly a far-reaching trek across the Atlantic and throughout the Southern Hemisphere in search of his clues for his mysterious new client.

The book gave
...more
Sarah
Jun 13, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed The Neruda Case, set primarily in Chile around the 1973 coup. Pablo Neruda, nearing the end of his life, meets the main character, Cayetano Brulé, and convinces him to look for someone from his past for him. Cayetano has no experience as a PI, so Neruda hands him a stack of Georges Simenon novels and tells him to go to work, which I found hilarious.

The book was beautifully written. I've read so many mediocre novels lately, that this was a breath of fresh air. The historical
...more
Kelle
Apr 26, 2015 Kelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really compelling mystery by an amazing writer. A detective hired by Pablo Neruda, who encourages him to read Maigret novels for his training set against a backdrop of political upheaval in Chile on the eve of Pinochet's rise to power, intrigue, communists and more.
Kathy
Jun 17, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Yay, it is here in my hot little hands, waiting to be read.

In the middle of another book, but soon. It does look very good. (this was a first reads win)

So, rushed through previouss books to read this. It is such a multilayered and interesting book, by turns witty and suspenseful. I used the word "sly" midway in my status updates, but it is also nostalgic, and audacious, taking the poet and looking at his life through the women he loved or betrayed, real and fictional, and looking at the period t
...more
Christopher
Sep 05, 2013 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this an ambitious book which combines literary and political tropes to good effect. Roberto Ampuero captures the emotions that ran high in the early 1970s in Chile and elsewhere in South America. There is a good international angle to the story and the characters. If you can buy into the original premise that a Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda would hire a young man with no experience other than from his reading of Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret novels, you will be carried alon ...more
 Olivermagnus
Jan 19, 2016 Olivermagnus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cayetano Brule, an unemployed Cuban, is summoned by the famous and revered poet Pablo Neruda for a personal task. Neruda is suffering from cancer and charges Brule to find a man named Dr. Bracamonte, another Cuban who he met in Mexico some years ago who was then engaged in a study of natural remedies for Neruda's condition. When Cayetano protests that he has no experience in detective work, Neruda gives him a few books by Simenon and advises him to study the methods employed by Inspector Maigret ...more
Laddie Tabor
Sep 05, 2015 Laddie Tabor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the one and only so far of Mr. Ampuero's novels to be translated into English. I enjoyed this book tremendously. It took you back to the Chilean days of Salvador Allende and his attempt to establish his socialist reforms under his leadership. However, his attempt after 3 years were met by the overthrow of his government by General Pinochet. This story unfolds during these turbulent years in Chile. Mr. Ampuero gives us a new private detective (Cayetano Brule)who has been given an assignm ...more
Amy Paget
I frequently enjoy novels in which literary figures appear. Such is The Neruda Case, by Roberto Ampeuro. Pablo Neruda, beloved Chilean poet, womanizer, and Nobel Laureate, cajoles a neighbor, Cayetano Brule, to become a private detective and solve a mystery deeply hidden in Neruda’s personal life. To add to the literary ambience, Neruda insists that all Brule needs to study in order to become a private detective, are the works of George Simenon, the Belgian mystery writer, and creator of the Ins ...more
Jim Loter
Jul 05, 2014 Jim Loter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pablo Neruda is brilliantly realized in this unusual mystery set during the volatility of the last months of the Allende revolution in Chile. The fictional detective, Cayetano Brulé, is hired by the elderly but still charismatic poet to locate a doctor that Neruda once knew and who he believes might have a treatment for his terminal condition. As Brulé follows the thin leads that Neruda supplies, he realizes that there is more to the assignment than Neruda originally let on. Originally reluctant ...more
Richard Jespers
Nov 04, 2014 Richard Jespers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ampuero’s novel, The Neruda Case, is divided into five parts, each one named after a woman whom Pablo Neruda is involved with over his lifetime, either as mistress or spouse. This novel is one of those in which a historic figure, in this case, a distinguished South American poet, is employed as a fictional character (names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously).

A kind of realization of Neruda’s life, the novel takes place a
...more
Elaine Kozak
Nov 25, 2015 Elaine Kozak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The introduction and many reviewers have provided summaries of this book so I won't bother. Felt it was more of a 3.65 star but couldn't give it just 3. Many things work. I was intrigued by the basic premise; the fact that the subject was Neruda; the main setting, Valparaiso, a wild and tragically beautiful city; and the historical context, the time of the coup that ended Allende's failed experiment in socialism. The exploration of the great poet's character in fictional terms carries the book. ...more
Lisa
Mar 06, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this literary thriller for its quick pace, beautiful imagery, vivid characters (not least Neruda) and zigzagging plot. The subplot about the turmoil of 1970s Chile becomes a bit obtuse at times; I needed a history book to connect some of the dots that ultimately led to Pinochet's coup. And I sensed a few plot devices tossed in to wrap things up just a little too conveniently. But overall it's a fun, meaty read.
Manecita
Sep 16, 2014 Manecita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me gustó bastante, genera interés por conocer más de la historia de Neruda , pero lo mejor es que R.Ampuero nos aporta más detalle de la vida de su personaje estrella Cayetano Brulé , más todavía cuando deja de manifiesto que sus características permiten que el tipo de casos encomendados no podrían ser resueltos por otros como Sherlock Holmes o Monsier Poirot.
Holly
Nov 06, 2013 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a Neruda fan, this fictionalized account of his last days is really spectacular. From the last days of the Allende government to the Pinochet takeover, this mystery covers a lot of historic ground as well as tidbits into the heart and soul of Neruda and his love for country.
Marti Martinson
Jan 07, 2016 Marti Martinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was supposed to read just 10 pages each day; taking a month to read and savor it. Well, I read it in a week. It was actually a slow starter, but once it got moving there were moments of confusion, elation, futility: a wide range. Characters were distinctly drawn, dialogue did not seem contrived, and the plot seemed plausable to me, but I am rather new to detective fiction. Pablo Neruda was the draw for me: his poetry (and, OK, Octavio Paz, but he makes no appearance) was the first I read that ...more
Bob Lopez
Nov 18, 2012 Bob Lopez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great caper of a novel. While I was drawn to the literary aspect, the novel itself was a fast-paced interview-laced investigation a la Simenon and Columbo.
Arnaud
May 30, 2015 Arnaud rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice enough story. Had a decent enough time reading it, flows nicely. I just wished the main character had been more developed instead of focusing on Neruda.
Sarah-Hope
Jan 04, 2015 Sarah-Hope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
The Neruda Case: A Novel, by Roberto Ampuero, translated by Carolina De Robertis, (Hardcover: Riverhead, 2012; Paperback: Riverhead Trade, 2013)

I fell in love with The Neruda Case when I first saw the cover of the 2012 hardback edition. I couldn’t afford to buy it at the time, but I’ve never forgotten it. So a few months ago, I was delighted to see a copy of it on remainder at my local independent bookstore, Bookshop Santa Cruz.

This is one of the cases when the book itself is every bit as wonder
...more
Scott Schneider
Apr 05, 2014 Scott Schneider rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't your traditional detective novel. No one gets killed. The main character is commissioned to find some long lost acquaintances of Pablo Neruda and solve a mystery, traveling all over Europe and the Caribbean and Latin America to do it. The backdrop though is the coup against the Allende government. This novel is based in part on the true story of Neruda's life and loves and the fact that he was close with Allende and died soon after the coup. It is a somewhat sad story but I learned a ...more
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Roberto Ampuero is a Chilean author, columnist, and a university professor.

In Chile his works have sold more than 40 editions. Ampuero now resides in Iowa where he is a professor at the University of Iowa in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.He was a columnist of La Tercera and the New York Times Syndicate and since March of 2009 has been working as a columnist for El Mercurio.
More about Roberto Ampuero...

Other Books in the Series

Cayetano Brulé (7 books)
  • ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann?
  • Boleros En La Habana
  • El alemán de Atacama
  • Cita en el Azul Profundo
  • Halcones de la noche
  • Bahía de los Misterios

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“Los detectives eran como el vino, pensó Cayetano, como el vino, el ron, el tequila o la cerveza, hijos de la tierra y su clima, y quien lo olvidaba terminaba cosechando fracasos. ¿Podía alguien imaginarse a Philip Marlowe frente a la catedral de La Habana? Lo achicharraría el sol de las dos de la tarde, y lo despojarían hasta del sombrero y el impermeable sin que ni siquiera lo notara. ¿O a Miss Marple caminando con su paso lento y distinguido, de dama ya mayor, por el centro de Lima? Se intoxicaría con el primer cebiche que probara, los siniestros taxistas limeños la desviarían del aeropuerto a una casucha, donde la estarían esperando un par de facinerosos. No encontrarían ni su placa de bien montados dientes falsos. ¿Y qué decir del amanerado Hercules Poirot cruzando el mercado Cardonal de Valparaíso con el traserito erguido y las manos enguantadas de blanco? Le hurtarían el bastón de caña, el reloj de bolsillo con cadena de oro y hasta el sombrero de hongo. La gente se burlaría de ellos en sus propias narices, los perros vagos los corretearían a dentelladas y los niños de la calle los apedrearían con crueldad.” 6 likes
“Porque si la poesía te transporta al cielo, la novela policiaca te introduce en la vida tal como es, te ensucia las manos y tizna el rostro como el carbón al fogonero de los trenes del sur.” 2 likes
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