Magazine article World Literature Today

The Blue Hour

Magazine article World Literature Today

The Blue Hour

Article excerpt

Alonso Cueto. The Blue Hour. Frank Wynne, tr. London. Heinemann. 2012. isbn 9780434019410

The Spanish edition of Alonso Cue- to's The Blue Hour was awarded the coveted Premio Herralde de Novela when it was first published in Bar- celona in 2005. It tells the story of Adrián Ormache, a well-educated and successful lawyer who, in the beginning, lives a comfortable upper- class life in Lima with his loving wife, Claudia, and their two daughters; but his life suddenly changes when his mother dies and he learns disturb- ing facts about his deceased father. Even though his mother divorced his father when Adrián was a young boy, he always considered him a war hero. While stationed in a small town in the Andes of southern Peru, Colonel Ormache conducted numerous mili- tary operations, which included the torture, rape, and murder of many civilians suspected of terrorism dur- ing the war against the Shining Path guerrilla organization in the 1980s and '90s in Peru. One of his prison- ers, Miriam, was a young local girl whom the colonel had kidnapped and held hostage at his post. After playing along as his lover for a period of time, Miriam finally managed to escape during the "blue hour," mean- ing shortly before dawn.

Years later, Adrián remembers that one of his father's last wishes was for him to search for Miriam, for whom the colonel apparently had developed a true affection. At that point, the protagonist embarks on a long, personal journey that takes him away from his well-to-do lifestyle and confronts him with Peru's true social reality, including the scars left from the war that had killed some 69,000 Peruvians. …

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