Travel to Uruguay with New Novel

Great Big Travel Literature Giveaway prize today takes you to Bhutan. See bottom of post for details. CONTEST LONG GONE.

First Grand Prize Announced:Everyone who has entered the daily drawing has a chance at one of four grand prizes. The first: a $40 book crammed with information and pictures about the Americas. (Giveaway January 25–3 extra chances if you subscribe to A Traveler’s Library by e-mail.)


Tango Dancers on Las Ramblas
Tango Dancers on Las Ramblas in Barcelona–not Uruguay

Book: The Invisible Mountain by Carolina de Robertis

The capitol of Uruguay-quick, do you know? Time’s up.  Montevideo was named by an explorer who thought he saw a mountain.  In The Invisible Mountain , Carolina de Robertis points out there is no mountain.  And like the invisible mountain, parts of the lives of many of her characters are hidden.

This novel introduced me to a country I knew very little about, but the women in the novel face universal problems.

The first woman we meet, Pajarita, comes from peasant stock and her role as materfamilias holds together the growing family, despite economic struggles. Her mythical childhood prepares her for survival. When she marries she moves to the city. She has a rough life, but takes no nonsense from her husband who drinks and gambles too much. Practical knowledge learned in the countryside prepare her for a career.

Pajarita’s  daughter, Eva,  a poet and dreamer, runs off to neighbor Argentina during the reign of Peron, and influenced by the glamor or Eva Peron, marries into status and wealth. When the Peron rule turns dangerous and she returns to Uruguay, she has to come to terms with her family, and with her true love and sexual identification.

It is Eva’s daughter, Salomé,  who completes the family story, and brings the story up to the present day. Her political activism moves from idealistic, romanticized notions to real dangers as Uruguay moves from being the model of democracy in South America to an increasingly oppressive dictatorship and eventually back to a democracy.

de Robertis includes the magical-realism of South and Central America, in the earlier sections of the book, but slips into more modern thought as the years pass. However she adds such poetic phrasing that sometimes whole pages become poetry. It is rare that a writer can pull off writing that appeals so strongly to our aesthetic appreciation and at the same time tell a coherent story. The Invisible Mountain is beautifully written but also a whopping good read. True and sexy and breath-takingly adventurous.

And it put Montevideo, Uruguay  on my wish list of travel destinations.—-

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

16 thoughts on “Travel to Uruguay with New Novel

  1. This is the book I’m hoping to win…and this is the review that drew me to your blog. I moved to Montevideo a few months ago and am loving it. I haven’t found much literature in English about Uruguay (although I am learning Spanish), so I think this is a must-read for me!

  2. I do adore Latin American fiction, especially where magical realism is involved. I’ll have to put this on my wishlist!
    .-= Almost Slowfood´s last blog ..Classic Meals: Coq au Vin =-.

  3. “Do they dance the tango in Uruguay, too?”
    Well, not much people think of Uruguay when talking about Tango, nevertheless Uruguay and Argentina are together the creators of Tango, not only Argentina. As a matter of course no
    Argentinian would dare to talk about “Argentinian tango” in neighbouring Uruguay, simply Uruguayans would laugh at them! Over there they would refer as “Tango Rioplatense” for the Tango was created on both margins of the River Plate, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires.
    By the way, the most known and popular Tango music, was written by an Uruguayan, not an Argentinian, and the most popular of Tango singers was born in Uruguay, not in Argentina.

    1. Hey, Gus, where did YOU come from? Thanks SO MUCH for adding to our knowledge of the Tango. I love having comments like this that truly add to the conversation.


  4. If Heart of the Buddha is as good as The Invisible Mountain sounds, I’d like to win! Hubby and I are moving to Colonia UR this coming summer. We’re very excited. It’s a wonderful country.

    1. Oh, yes, Alexandra, they definitely dance the Tango in Uruguay and one of the characters in the book has a very bad experience with learning the tango. But they also have Las Ramblas–the walk along the sea coast, which is how I happened upon this picture, thinking it was Montevideo. And while I’m filling in information that got left out of my post, I was amazed to learn of the variety of countries the settlers of Uruguay come from. Definitely not all Spanish.

  5. Uruguay, I wouldn’t have ever even thought of a trip there. Sounds like a great book. I wish I had more time to read! At least I can read your review and feel as if I’ve accomplished something.
    A friend of mine read Heart of the Buddha. If I win, I could actually have a great discussion about it. Reminds me, make my friend follow this blog, he’d love it.

  6. this book sounds FANTASTIC!! i’ll have to get it for sure. and i’d love to win the heart of the buddha book – it also sounds wonderful. what fun you must be having with your anniversary celebration!
    .-= jessiev´s last blog ..Before leaving =-.

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