The Invisible Mountain
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The Invisible Mountain

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  852 ratings  ·  224 reviews
A gripping and lyrical story—at once expansive and lush with detail—this debut novel is a deeply intimate exploration of the search for love and authenticity, power and redemption, in the lives of three women, and a penetrating portrait of a small, tenacious nation, Uruguay, shaken in the gales of the twentieth century.

On the first day of the millennium, a small town gathe...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Tea Jovanović
Wonderful book, very lovely author that I've met in Turin few years ago... For all those that like to read Isabel Allende... I'm not loosing hope that I'll find her publisher in Serbia (I did once but he changed his mind and canceled the contract)...
Melissa Crytzer Fry
This book was delectable – delicious words spilling from a poet’s pen. While The Invisible Mountain is worth the read for the sheer beauty of the language alone, it’s also an epic multigenerational story of three incredibly strong women, a story of revolution, political upheaval, love of country, mother-daughter love, love of language and words, survival, hope, a story about the power of story itself (and the power of story to transport and heal).

I confess that I don’t read much historical ficti...more
Jessica McCann
This novel completely swept me away. The Invisible Mountain is really like three novels in one. It's an expansive story of three strong women, told in three parts, yet woven together. Set mostly in Uruguay, and spanning most of the 20th century, it begins with the story of Pajarita, a lost infant who mysteriously re-appears in the countryside, high in a tree, New Year’s day 1900. The small town of Tucuarembo had been known for starting centuries with some sort of miracle, no matter how peculiar....more
This is saga of the Firielli’s family as told by the grandmother Pajarita, her daughter Eva and her granddaughter Salome.

During Pjarita life and her marriage with Ignazio, the author introduces the glamorous city of Montevideo before Word War I.

Page 27: Monte. Vide. Eu. I see a mountain, said the first Portuguese man to sight this terrain from sea.

Just for clarification, Montevideo has only a low hill.

However after the Great War, the Uruguay's economical breakdown just begin.

Her daughter Eva has...more
This book was given to me as a Christmas gift from a book club friend. I didn't start it for a while. Some of the reviews here scared me off, and I really didn't like the cover. I figured I had to read it for our next book club meeting (she asked about it in our last), so I kind of begrudgingly picked it up.

I was being ridiculous. This book is beautiful. It follows three generations of a family, mostly through its women, navigate Uruguay's tumultuous 20th century. It's a little historical, it's...more
Tara Chevrestt
This is an excellent debut novel. It addresses so many different family issues in each generation. Namely three generations spanning 90 years. The book is in three parts. Part one is Pajarita, part two is her daughter Eva, and part three is Salome, Pajarita's granddaughter.

Pajarita's tale takes place in Uruguay in the early 1900s. She is a "miracle child" that disappears as a baby and suddenly reappears in a tree much later. When she becomes a young woman, she marries Ignazio, who is a gondola...more
Last night, my husband returned home from a meeting to find me weeping tears of joy and sadness. I had just finished Invisible Mountain by Carolina De Robertis, a historical fiction novel set in the South American country Uruguay and I was truly moved. The novel follows the lives of 3 women: a grandmother Pajarita, her daughter Eva, and her daughter Salome. The novel begins with Pajarita's childhood at the dawn of the 20th Century in her rural village and later moves to Montevideo where Pajarita...more
Mar 15, 2010 Chrissie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Lauren Teitelbaum
Yes, I really, really liked it! I just finished. The metaphors are wonderful; they tie all the strands together. That home to this family was Montevideo, that the story took place here, was just perfect. Montevideo means - I see a mountain. But there is no mountain! Only by reading the novel will you understand. What else should I say? This book is about families and about secrets and how secrets eventually can be erased in a family. It is about how within a family, although we have common trait...more
Holly Weiss
Three generations of mothers and daughters, Pajarita, Eva and Salome, are inextricably tied by their fierce independence and their home, Montevideo. Montevideo hints of the book’s title, The Invisible Mountain. The metaphors hidden here are beautifully and tenderly wrought by the author. The women are interlocked with the hope of living fully. The reader won’t understand the title until the ending is reached and then you will want to reread for anything you’ve missed.

The writing is magical. Ms....more
Kerry Hennigan
The Invisible Mountain is a sweeping saga of the women of one family and the struggle for freedom from repressive government regimes in various South American countries.

Set primarily in Uruguay, it follows the fortunes of Pajarita, her daughter Eva and finally Salome. Through their experiences, and those of their husbands and brothers and fellow revolutionaries, we travel the tide of history from 1900 through to the last decades of the twentieth century.

But it is Salome’s story that is most comp...more
The Invisible Mountain by Carolina de Robertis

Carolina de Robertis writes with a passion as deep and intense as the tango, the thread that holds so much of South America together. The Invisible Mountain is a lyrical narrative on the tides of life in Uruguay throughout the twentieth century. As symbolic as the traditional shared cup or gourd of mate, Ms. de Robertis has a unique talent that embraces everything within the lives of three generations of women and their families. She conveys imaginat...more
Paolo Gianoglio
Mi piacerebbe aver il coraggio e la sintesi utilizzate da Fantozzi per recensire il film sulla famosa corazzata russa (questo film è una c.. pazzesca!). Mi limiterò a osservare che da tempo non leggevo un libro così inutile, mal strutturato e mal scritto. Non è sufficiente dichiarare di voler raccontare una storia familiare e di un Paese sposando il punto di vista delle donne, occorre saperlo fare, occorre dare spessore alle storie, occorre dare misura agli sviluppi, agli eventi, ai personaggi....more
Aug 07, 2009 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Andrea
The Invisible Mountain is an impressive and ambitious debut novel. It tells the story - told in poetic oral history - of three generations of women in a working class family in Uruguay. It is the story of the rise and fall of the fortunes of the three women in conjunction with the rise and fall of Uruguay.

The novel is split into three sections, named after each of the women: Pajarita, Eva, and Salome. The novel captures the voices of each of the women and each section has a different "feel". Ea...more
Cheryl A
Spanning the bulk of the 20th century, this debut novel tells the story of Pajarita, a miracle child of the turn of the century, her daughter Eva and Eva's daughter Salome. Weaving the history of Uruguay into the family history of these three women, we see the strength of these characters as they search for love, making sacrifices for the love of their family. Bleak and horrific events are told in such a lyrical voice that the reader often doesn't realize right away how ugly the events actually...more
A magical book full of myth, mystery and history.
The story is set around three generations of women from the start of the 20th century and follows their individual yet entwined lives up until the point of 1990.
Pajarita is born on the first day of the new century and her birth and early life is shrouded in mystery. Her mother dies in childbirth and her father totally dismisses her existence to the point that the family apart from her aunty Tia Tita who tirelessly searches and searches for the mi...more
Carolina de Robertis writes a powerful novel about three generations of women. Interweaving magical realism with the real history of Uruguay and Argentina, De Robertis constructs a largely successful family saga full of emotion-cahrged moments that left me with literal tears running down my face.

The book is divided in the three stories it tells. It starts at the turn of the century with the story of Pajarita whose fantastical tale of rebirth imbues the book with a good dose of magical realism....more
I had a hard time getting into this book, but ended up really liking it. It is a multi-generational saga and, inevitably, I like one section better than the rest. I found Salome's story fascinating and I learned quite a bit about Urugayuan history in the process. All the characters were multi-dimensional rather than mere caricatures of political and personal positions.
Deep and eyeopening, one can really feel the Uruguayan/South American society of 20th century and the troubles the women there went through. Even though there is a feeling of marxism and misandry coming from the writer, for the passion and research put in, it deserves 5 stars.
Doriana Bisegna
To discover a new author and then to be blown away by her debut novel is a major treat for a reader. Carolina De Robertis's writing is as wonderful as Marquez, Allende and Alvarez. This saga of a South American family spans three generations of women who are all diverse, strong, resilient and powerful in their own way. I love the way the author infused the novel with real history about Uruguay, Cuba and Argentina in the 20th century. This young author is a powerhouse with words and a brilliant s...more
A family saga.

This was an interesting book from the point of view of the historical insights into life in Uruguay and Argentina in the twentieth century. It starts on New Year's Day 1900 and passes through three generations of a family that lived through upheaval and change, dictatorships and eventual democracy. However, as a novel I found it a very slow read and it has taken me months to finish it. Some of the members of my book group loved this book so this is just my own opinion, but I strugg...more
switterbug (Betsey)
In this astonishing and assured debut novel about a lineage of Uruguayan women in Montevideo, covering much of the twentieth century, de Robertis immerses the reader in electrifying and luminous prose. My skin tingled and my eyes watered; the passages melted in my mouth and dissolved on my tongue, making me buoyant, almost weightless. Pardon my gushing, but this is the most lyrical, musky, magical prose I have ever encountered in a freshman novel, and it has easily become one of my desert island...more
The writing in this is lovely, lush & lyrical and carefully written. De Robertis also added the little mystical elements that I’ve seen in other South American books. The title of the book ties in with the meaning of Montevideo which is I see a mountain except there’s really no mountains there. It’s clever and smart like when she does a riff on Eva’s brothers and how their names all blend into one single name and what it sounds like when Eva’s mother calls them inside, brunomarcotomás. It al...more
This was the first book that I've read in Spanish in quite some time. I used to read a lot of them, but I've been rusty and it was laborious for me to read this - it took weeks! It took a while to get the swing of it, and really understand what was going on. However, about 100 pages in, I was hooked. Persistence paid off. The original novel is in English, but since the writer is Latin and the story takes place in South America, it has been translated for Spanish readers.

The Invisible Mountain is...more
This is, in many ways a book typical of female authors writing about Latin America. Set mostly in Uruguay (with a side trip of a few years in Argentina during the Peron rule), it follows three generations of women from the first day of the twentieth century until New Year's Day 1990, closely linking the personal and the political. What sets this apart (apart from the lesser-known country in which it's set) is the exquisite writing. An example: After one of the characters returns home after many...more
It would take me months to tell you all that I do not know about Uruguay and since we have neither the time nor the interest let's talk about a novel set in Uruguay instead. It's The Invisible Mountain by Carolina De Robertis. The Invisible Mountain is my first experience with Uruguay, fictional or otherwise, and what a nice place to start.

This novel is a multi-generational look at Uruguay (with some side trips to Argentina) across most of the 20th century through the eyes of three women. All t...more
Zohar -
The book starts off with a miracle. In the first day of the twentieth century a baby girl, who disappeared from a village after her mother died giving birth to her, was found on top of a tree, that little girl is named Pajarita (Little Bird) and thus the story begins.

The narrative spans 90 years or so, following the lives of Pajarita, her daughter Eva and granddaughter (Eva's daughter) Salomé and follows the women through a personal story which also mirrors the chaotic history of Uruguay throug...more
I randomly picked this book up on a recommendation from a friend, and I'm so glad I read it! It's pretty rare that I find a book that keeps me up reading attentively late at night, but this was definitely one of them.

This fits into the many-generations-of-strong-females-struggling-through-hard-times-in-Latin-America genre (à la Soñar en cubano or Como agua para chocolate). I've read many books like this in my studies of Spanish language and culture; however, unlike most of the others, there was...more
When author Carolina de Robertis began writing as a child, her parents begged her to put their family stories on paper. Available in August, the result of family oral tradition and lots of listening and research, is her debut novel. The Invisible Mountain is as lush in character, plot and language as the South American landscape in which it is set. More than a narrative of the Firrelli’s, a Uraguayan family with Italian roots that run deep within the Venetian canals, de Robertis’s novel traces t...more
Invisible Mountain is a gem of a novel, grounded in actual history, with a dollop of magical realism, a splash of Dickensian coincidence, with some forbidden romance and political intrigue added to the mix.

The novel opens at the turn of the 20th century in a remote Uruguayan village, when a baby is spirited away and then reappears, a year later, unharmed in the branches of a tree. The young one is named Pajarita – translated to little bird – and the narrative, divided into three sections, sequen...more
I had the opportunity to visit Uruguay a couple of years ago, and remembered peering from the airplane to see the mountain in Montevideo. As the story explains, there isn't actually a mountain there at all. But I had enjoyed my visit and the rare opportunity to listen to a story in this region hooked me quickly.

The story is one of a family of 4 women (great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and daughter) from the time of the birth of the first until the early adult hood of the last. The author sh...more
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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...
Perla Bonsaï Immigrant Voices: 21st Century Voices

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“She was awake, alive, full of ideas like branches in a greenhouse, growing thick and rife against the glass.” 11 likes
“He was like a bottle and music was the wine.... She liked to be near him when it poured.” 9 likes
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