El caso Neruda
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El caso Neruda

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  299 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Un Pablo Neruda anciano y enfermo acaba de regresar a Chile después de dejar su cargo como embajador del gobierno de Salvador Allende en París. De su vida –llena de éxitos– le queda solo un misterio por desvelar. Una duda profunda que lo atormenta cuando percibe el final de su existencia. En el invierno de 1973 conoce al cubano Cayetano Brulé, a quien involucra en una inve...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Grupo Editorial Norma
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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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Bob Lopez
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.
Scott Schneider
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
I thought this novel was poorly written. It had lots of details about poet Pablo Neruda's life and the political upheaval in Chile, but it was poorly constructed as a mystery. There were too many perfunctory scene descriptions that seemed to have no deeper connection to the action. There was no suspense and no resolution. The hero wore the same tie for over 30 years.

Anytime he met with an obstacle or stonewalling, all he had to do was insist earnestly or promise that the information was for a f...more

I have to admit, it took me a while to fully embrace this novel. I thought, at first, the English translation seemed a bit wooden, and I'm not really knowledgeable about the Allende/Pinochet revolutionary era of Chile's history. Also, I didn't warm up right away to a protagonist/private detective who seemed so unsure of himself (at least at the start).

I am really glad that I kept on reading, regardless. As the chapters unfolded, I was drawn into this rich, finely detailed mystery.

Cayetano Brule...more
The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero is a fictional mystery novel surrounding the investigating requested by the famous poet, Pablo Neruda, to the main character, Cayetano Brulé, to search for an unknown medical scientist named Ángel Bracamonte in hopes of what is assumed to be a medical cure and breakthrough for Cancer.

Though the backdrop of the novel is lush in its description of Valparaíso and the Latin American setting, food, and culture, it is also heavily laden with politics during the socia...more
Sometime in the 1970's, Cayetano Brule, a Cuban from Florida is at a party in Valparaiso where he meets the Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda. They have a drink and talk. Neruda is ill, and he wants Brule to take on a mission for him - to find a Cuban doctor who was looking for herbal cures for cancer 30 years earlier. Brule is not a detective, but he is Cuban, and Neruda convinces him that he can learn to be a detective by reading the works of Simenon. What a concept! But it sort of works.

The quest m...more
I quite liked "The Neruda Case," but am finding it a challenge to say why.

It works reasonably well on a superficial level -- the newly launched detective Cayetano Brule' in 1973 pursuing a mystery doggedly through a number of countries -- Mexico, Cuba, E. Germany and Chile. Clues arise and the search continues.

In addition, as Ampuero's author's note indicated,this book is consciously intended to present a portrait of Pablo Neruda. While Ampuero clearly admires Neruda and feels he has presented a...more
from http://weeksnotice.blogspot.com/2013/...

Roberto Ampuero's The Neruda Case was billed as a mystery, and in fact is about the main character's first foray into private detection, but is enjoyable for reasons other than genre.

Cayetano Brulé--himself a Cuban--lives in Valparaíso, in September 1973 was contacted by Pablo Neruda to find information of a woman from his past with whom he had an affair and determine whether the child she had was his. From there the poet gives him money to make quick...more
Bert Hirsch
The Neruda Case: A Novel by Roberto Ampuero
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero

This mystery novel is a little delight. A mysterious tale about a self invented detective, one Cayetano Brule, a Cuban exiled transposed to Chile in the late 60’s:

“…those were the days of Salvador Allende and Unidad Popular, as well as of an unbridled social turmoil that would lead not to what the people dreamed of but rather to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinoch...more
This was a very fun novel about a novice "detective" who earns his stripes by reading Maigret novels while searching for a lost love of the poet Pablo Neruda in his dying days amidst the backdrop of the Revolution in Chile in 1973. Translated from the Spanish by an author who grew up in the same neighborhood where Neruda once lived and where his museum is now located, this is both a fun "caper" and an exploration on the senseless preoccupations that cloud our vision, especially as death stares u...more
Disclosure: I received this uncorrected proof copy for free through Goodreads First Reads. Thanks to the publishers for the opportunity to read this book for an unbiased review.

The Neruda Case has a few things going against it, for many english-speaking readers:

It's a translation from Spanish.

It is a prequel, written in 2008 after a series of five Cayetano Brulé mysteries (not translated into English, so we don't know the character):

(1993), ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann?
(1994), Boleros en La...more
Joseph Ribera
Translated from the Spanish. This novel was written by a Chileno who lived, when only a child, in the same neighborhood as Pablo Neruda. A work of fiction that interweaves actual historical events that led up to the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende by the Fascist General Augusto Pinochet. The protagonist, a mail order detective, is hired by Pablo Neruda to find someone. That investigation takes him to Mexico, Cuba, East Germany, Bolivia and...more
2.5 Three stars is almost a stretch but two is perhaps too punitive. I wanted to like this book more than I did. It's more of a literary excercise than a detective novel. I was interested in Pablo Neruda as a character and the setting in Chile prior to the fall of Allende. It just never came together for me. I was especially annoyed by an egregious error in fact. At one the character Neruda recommends a novel to the protagonist "The 23 Instants of Spring" by Konstanin Simonov. He mentions it was...more
The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero, translated by Carolina de Robertis (author of Perla), is set just before the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile when Castro is in power in Cuba and Germany has been cut in half by the wall. Cuban exile Cayetano Brulé has left Miami with his wife, Maria Paz Angela Undurraga Cox, for her home in Chile, but he continues to feel out of place as no one trusts a Cuban and he cannot find work. Meanwhile, his wife is increasingly engaged in the reform movement...more
Most of the action takes place in 1973, shortly before the overthrow of Salvador Allende and the death of Pablo Neruda in Chile in September of that year. Having studied this period of history and having recently returned from a trip to Chile, this book was right up my alley. The story takes the reader on a journey across the globe as Cayetano Brule embarks on a secret mission for his neighbor, the poet Pablo Neruda. Along the way, he encounters other historical figures and learns more about his...more
September 11 has a different significance in Chile than it does in the US. It was on September 11, 1973 that the military coup toppled the Allende presidency and installed the Pinochet dictatorship. This novel takes place in the months leading up to the coup. Months in which the reactionary Chilean right wing, with the very active involvement of the US government, crippled the Chilean economy through a combination of trade embargoes, lockouts, and a general truckers' strike, in hopes of turning...more
Page turner! Basically a detective story, traveling around the world to explore the life of famous poet Pablo Neruda. There, that's vague enough to not give away the plot. This is also set in Chile during the political upheaval between Allende and Pinochet, and the detective visits numerous communist countries, so it's interesting to get the political, social, cultural views. Each chapter, and there are 66 of them, takes a surprising new turn!

Here's a sample quote comparing relative perspective...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.
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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.” 2 likes
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