Maria's Reviews > Orphans of Eldorado

Orphans of Eldorado by Milton Hatoum
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Feb 17, 10

bookshelves: first-reads
Read from February 08 to 16, 2010

I did like this book, but it fell short of a really satisfying read for a few reasons. It may be that much of the essence of the story was lost in the translation. I found the structure of the book a bit disjointed, and it was frustrating that there were no speechmarks, so it was difficult to tell if someone was speaking, or when the speaking stopped.
The story is about a man, Arminto, who squanders his inheritance and spends his life waiting for and searching for a lost love. There are many references to myths and legends, in particular the legend of The Enchanted City, submerged under the sea. Parts of the book were very poignant and inspired, but the quality of the writing was not consistent; sometimes I would find myself very absorbed in the story, and other times I was trying to work out what was happening and why the narrator appeared to be skipping haphazardly from one point in time to another. Maybe the author meant the writing to be like this? After all, it is a tale being narrated by an elderly man who may or may not have become senile. However, I would have preferred a more fluent read.
I was also disappointed by the ending, which to me seemed contrived.
The highlight of the book for me was the poem at the beginning, 'The City' by C.P. Cavafy, which is also referred to in the main story.
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02/09/2010 page 17
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