Title: It Would Be Night In Caracas
Writer: Karina Sainz Borgo, translated by Elizabeth Bryer
Publishing House: HarperCollins
Date of Publication: October 15th 2019 (first published March 7th 2019)
Rating: 5 stars
*ANY political comments will be deleted. I do NOT discuss politics or religious or social issues with strangers. If you attempt to do so via a ‘’friend’’ request, you will be blocked and reported. My opinions are my own and I do not engage in discussions over personal convictions and ethics. Don’t like it, don’t read it.’’
‘’Promised. That there would be no more stealing, that everything would be for the people, that everyone would have the house of their dreams, that nothing bad would happen ever again. They never stopped promising. Under the threat of nonfulfillment, unanswered prayers crumbled beneath the weight of the resentment fueling them. The Sons of the Revolution weren’t responsible for anything that happened. If the baker was empty, the baker was to blame. If there were shortages at the pharmacy, even of a single box of contraceptives, the pharmacist was to blame. If we reached home, exhausted and hungry and with only two eggs in our shopping bag, the person who’d bought the egg we needed was at fault. We found ourselves wishing ill on the innocent and the executioner alike. We were incapable of differentiating between them.’’
Adelaide and Santiago are two residents of Caracas that try to protect a home. The young woman, aided by Santiago (what a beautiful name!), a persecuted friend of the family, struggles to keep herself and her property safe from a curse that haunts the streets of the capital of Venezuela. A curse created by a regime that firmly walks on the path of the Soviets, squads of thugs that murder and plunder to ‘’teach the wealthy and privileged a lesson.’’ And what can you do? What is your punishment for being a human being with education and values? For refusing to accept that guns and violence are the answers? Threats. Rape. Humiliation. Death. But there are some people like Adelaide. People who refuse to yield to the mob.
‘’They’d taken everything from me, even my right to scream. That afternoon I wanted to have hooks for hands. To kill everyone by just moving my arms, like a mortal windmill.’’
This is a vicious world. Power cuts, dead bodies lying on the streets. Thugs, male and female, invade your house. They occupy it and turn it into their very own personal toilet. Their shit is everywhere. You are thrown out by the ‘’soldiers of the Revolution.’’ Now, you need to ‘’invade’’ another house, to defend yourself, to survive, to show that the humanoid worms will not put you down. The squads of murderers and a regime that does nothing except accumulating wealth and extinguishing the ones who aren’t idiots to fall for their lies. Product shortages, black market, controls targeted at women who are ‘’easier to yield’’, chocolate and books confiscated, everything we know (I hope…) from the days of the Soviet past and their vision of ‘’ democracy’’ are laid bare for the readers. The brave readers.
‘’The library was deserted. What the hell had they done with my books? So many were gone. Where had they taken Children of the Mire, The Green House, Family Airs, Ask the Dust? I only had to go to the bathroom to realize that entire sections of my Eugene Montejo and Vicente Gerbasi editions had been used to block the pipes.’’
What do those filthy beasts that occupy Adelaide’s world know of Literature or Culture? The only ‘’Art’’ they are aware of is the one that serves their vile notions of a new world. What do they know of History? What do Change and Justice have to do with violence, murdering civilians, women and children, innocent students? In Adelaide’s life, the victims are left wondering, struggling to gather the broken pieces. If they survive the armed mob…
‘’Who’s alive today, Adelaida? Since everything went to the dogs, who’s not dead?’’
As we seamlessly move back and forth in time, the moments of Adelaida with her late mother relieve the tension, even for a few blessed moments. To say that the writing is beautiful and shocking would be a tremendous understatement. This is one of the most memorable, touching, terrifying books I’ve ever read. I will never, ever forget it.
There are certain books that need no reviews, or the conclusions that we, as readers, strive to reach. There are certain books that speak for themselves, that ask us to contemplate on the dangers of populism, and the web of lies, on blind violence and the poisonous words that aim to sweeten our troubled minds. This is one of those books.
‘’Being in the street at six in the evening was asking to cut your life short. Anything could kill us: a stray bullet, a kidnapping, a robbery. Blackouts lasted long hours and meant sunsets were followed by everlasting darkness.’’
‘’Then I died once more. I was never able to rise again from all the deaths that accumulated in my life story that afternoon. That day I became my only family. The only final part of a life that nobody in that place would hesitate to cut short, machete blow by machete blow. By blood and fire, like everything that happens in this city.’’
Many thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.