Review by Robin Levin,
author of The Death of Carthage
“Soledad is a village in an unnamed country in Latin America where life has gone on with little change for centuries. Rosario and her husband, Anibal, eke out a living on a small plot of land. Their income is supplemented by Anibal’s work for Don Rafael, a large landowner, and by Rosario’s talented needlework. Rosario has ambitions to finish high school, but she is afraid to bring up the subject with Anibal. Everyone she talks to discourages her.
Everything starts to change when a mysterious stranger comes to town. Rosario is the first to meet him and she takes an instant dislike to him. The stranger, however, is handsome and charismatic and charms nearly everyone else in the village, including Rosario’s grandmother Providencia, the wealthy but curmudgeonly Dona Gertrudis, and, worst of all, Anibal. The only one who agrees with Rosario about the stranger is her grandfather Gustavo.
The stranger, it seems, is a revolutionary, a fugitive from the government and a man who has no scruples when it comes to using violence to achieve his political ends. The villagers find themselves unwittingly caught in a tragic cycle of violence between the repressive government and those who would overthrow it; a scenario all too common in Latin America in the late 20th century.
Disappearances begin to occur, bodies are found, Anibal disappears and Rosario finds herself persona non grata among the people she has lived with all of her life. Her only option is to flee the village. She finds an unlikely refuge with a distant relative of one of the villagers, Zayas, a vain and avaricious manager of a Casino in the capital.
Sleep of the Innocents is an intelligent and thought-provoking book which I recommend to anyone with an interest in the culture and the political problems of Latin America.”
Many thanks to Robin Levin, author of The Death of Carthage for her review of my novel, Sleep of the Innocents.