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Other titles in the Camino del Sol series:
The Peruvian Notebooks (Camino del Sol)by Braulio Munoz
Synopses & Reviews
This lyrical, deeply affecting novel portrays the life of an undocumented Peruvian immigrant to the United States and his struggle and failure to achieve the American dream.” Although Antonio Alday Gutierrez dreams of great success when coming to America, he accepts work as a security guard at a shopping mall and lives in a modest apartment. To soften the bleak reality of his disappointing life, Antonio invents a privileged Peruvian past to mislead his new American friends. He also sends letters to his family in Peru boasting of a thriving business and large home. This double deception leads Antonio to commit an act of desperation to conceal the drab reality of his new American life. As the novel opens, Antonio is waiting in his apartment for the police to arrest him. Over the next three hours, Antonio re-reads his old notebooks and letters to and from his family. He also reflects on his life in America and his struggle with El Azar—the unrelenting, unforgiving sense of fate that has dogged his steps since childhood. Told in a series of flashbacks, letters, and excerpts from notebooks, this epistolary novel takes readers on a cultural and spiritual journey, touching on themes of self-identity, memory, border crossing, and death. Muñoz artfully layers the narrative with different voices, times, and places to offer a profound vision of the immigrant experience. One of the first immigrant stories told from the Peruvian point of view, this novel provides a rich portrait of ambition, self-deception, and acceptance.
"On a Saturday afternoon in December 1995, Peruvian immigrant Antonio Alday Gutirrez lies in his small Delaware house, contemplating his failed creation, Anthony Allday — the Americanized version of himself that 'could not exorcise the ghosts of Tecora' in 22 years in the U.S., and whom he has just committed a murder to protect. Antonio's stocktaking comprises the book, including sections of his 'Peruvian Notebooks,' a diarylike work in progress containing the bookish Antonio's reflections on his past and self-fashioning, as well as various letters home. The letters bespeak a success that didn't exist (as Allday, he was a night guard at a mall), and in the book's near-past, cousin Genaro's impending arrival from Peru threatens to smash his 'thick shell' of lies and delusions. A Peruvian immigrant himself, Muoz is a professor of sociology at Swarthmore College and the author of critical studies as well as a Spanish-language novel; this is his first novel written in English. Repetitive flashes into Antonio's postmurder recriminations are tedious, and readers will have guessed his victim's identity long before it is revealed. The book is richest when relating details of American life through the eyes of a bewildered newcomer in the early 1970s." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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