A chilling, internationally acclaimed political thriller is a grand achievement in contemporary Latin American fiction, written by the youngest winner ever of the Alfaguara Prize — one of the most prestigious in the Spanish-speaking world — and translated from the Spanish by one of our most celebrated literary translators, Edith Grossman. It evokes Holy Week during a cruel, bloody, and terrifying time in Peru's history, shocking for its corrosive mix of assassination, bribery, intrigue, torture, and enforced disappearance — a war between grim, ideologically-driven terrorism and morally bankrupt government counterinsurgency.
Mother-haunted, wife-abandoned, literature-loving, quietly eccentric Felix Chacaltana Saldivar is a hapless, by-the-book, unambitious prosecutor living in Lima. Until now he has lived a life in which nothing exceptionally good or bad has ever happened to him. But, inexplicably, he has been put in charge of a bizarre and horrible murder investigation. As it unfolds by propulsive twists and turns — full of paradoxes and surprises — Saldivar is compelled to confront what happens to a man and a society when death becomes the only certainty in life.
Stunning for its self-assured and nimble clarity of style — reminiscent of classic noir fiction — the inexorable momentum of its plot, and the moral complexity of its concerns, is at once riveting and profound, informed as it is by deft artistry in the shaping of conflict between competing venalities. As the declares, "Lima is once again one of Latin America’s brightest literary scenes."