I like to think that I am not usually easily taken in by pageturners, but this is something of an exception, since it IS a pageturner, and it is a great book.
I think that what makes this book particularly good and meaningful is that the political and the personal intermingle in a way that is both emotionally powerful and effective in conveying a strong message.
The book revisits the last days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and its immediate aftermath from the perspective of various different characters all at different levels affected by it. By describing the arbitrariness and harshness with which Trujillo's absolute power is exercised, the novel gives the reader 'privileged' access to a close-up study of the life of a declining dictator, who enjoys keeping even his closest collaborator in a state of perennial uncertainty and anxiety.
I am not sure how well-researched, how historically reliable this book actually is, but somehow I feel it doesn't really matter, for me at least. The reason is that although I have found this book interesting from an historical perspective and instructive on a period I don't know very well, its real value for me lies elsewhere. What I am going to take with me is the universal, human message that I found in it, and that in such a well balanced book comes across so strongly. This message concerns the absolute value of freedom, but also the incredibly high price at which freedom is obtained. But more than anything else what has struck a chord in my heart is the comparison between the ends of so many different characters' lives, and the different degree of dignity and lucidity with which they face death. Absolute power can deprive man of his freedom, but there is a bottom line of dignity that it cannot get hold of, as long as one is strong and determined enough not to let himself be stripped of it....Continua
Fantastic. This is only the second book I've read that was originally written in Spanish, not a translation. After a while I completely forgot I was reading it for language practice; I'd pull it out and read it every spare minute I had.
The novel is based on true events: the assassination of Rafael Trujillo, who ruled the Dominican Republic like his own personal fiefdom for over 30 years. In the past couple of years, I've read several books about the Trujillo era, and La Fiesta del Chivo is certainly the best of them all....Continua