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May 2017: 2004 > Delirio (Delirium) by Laura Restrepo

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message 1: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1545 comments 4 stars
Delirium is a Spanish language novel by Colombian author Laura Restrepo. I am hosting a read around the world challenge on our blog, Litsy, and instagram and each month we are reading a different country and posting pictures of our books and any other Colombia inspired posts (recipes, food, drink, etc.). This month is Colombia. I picked this book because I wanted to expand beyond Garcia Marquez (who I like) and explore other Colombian writers.

Aguilar leaves his home for a trip with his sons from a previous marriage and when he comes home he finds his wife, Augustina delirious in a hotel room. The remainder of the novel is dedicated to uncovering what happened to Augustina to cause this delirium. The narrative style is quite complex, alternating between different characters (Aguilar, Augustina's ex-boyfriend, other family members) and switching from first to third person perspective within the same paragraph. The style creates a dizzying effect that to some degree mimics Augustina's mental health status.

I alternated between reading this book in Spanish and English. I started in Spanish but found the style very confusing so switched to English until I had a good sense of who was who and which timeframes were central. Then I switched back to Spanish. Interestingly the original Spanish was pretty humorous and I laughed out loud several times when reading. A lot of this humor was lost in the English translation.

On the surface this book seems like a mystery/suspense but it was really quite profound and interesting. Restrepo tackles mental illness, the role of women, the political situation in Colombia, family relationships, and love. I really enjoyed the book and will be looking for more of this author's work.

NOTE: GR says this was published in 2000 by both my English and Spanish translations list 2004 as the the first edition pub date and it won a literary prize in 2004. So I'm assuming 2004 is correct.


message 2: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 429 comments Fantastic review Jen! Just had to add it :)


message 3: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1545 comments Nicole wrote: "Fantastic review Jen! Just had to add it :)"

Thanks! I hope you like it.


message 4: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6431 comments Interesting . . .is Spanish your first language, Jen? I always worry with these translations that some of the nuances are lost, and it does sound like the case here. It's great that you can read in both languages . . .


message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1545 comments Anita wrote: "Interesting . . .is Spanish your first language, Jen? I always worry with these translations that some of the nuances are lost, and it does sound like the case here. It's great that you can read in..."

No English is my first language but I'm fluent in Spanish and went to high school in Costa Rica where I read mostly in Spanish. The English translation was pretty good thougj


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