Posted by: koolwine | December 24, 2010

Peru: Red April

A socially inept prosecutor suspects terrorists are behind a series of gruesome murders.

Country Focus: Peru (Perú in Spanish)

Red April
Santiago Roncagliolo
Originally published in Spain as Abril rojo by Alfaguara, 2006.
My edition: Pantheon, 2009.  271 pgs.
Acclaim: Roncagliolo is the youngest winner of the Alfaguara Prize – one of the most prestigious in the Spanish-speaking world

To make a long story short: A burned and shockingly dismembered corpse has been discovered in a hayloft.  Despite Associate District Prosecutor Félix Chacaltana Saldívar’s detailed report and strict adherence to official procedure, the police are ignoring both him and the body.  Convinced that the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso is responsible for the murder, and blind to the implications of the authorities’ pointed disinterest as well as to the political machinations going on around him, Chacaltana begins a dogged investigation that leads him to question the morality of his country’s leaders, rethink his opinion of the Senderistas, and confront his troubled past.  But as more mutilated bodies are found, Chacaltana can’t help but acknowledge that all of the evidence is pointing towards…himself.

“Before going to police headquarters, he wrote once again – as he did every morning – his supply requisition for a new typewriter, two pencils, and a ream of carbon paper.  He had already submitted thirty-six requisitions and kept the signed receipts for all of them.  He did not want to become aggressive, but if the supplies did not arrive soon, he could initiate an administrative procedure to demand them more forcefully.”


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