Does poetry alone provide enough sustenance to feed the soul? Of what value is a life spent creating beautiful art without a true companion to share it with or someone to pass it on to? Fundamental existential questions may concern most of us at some time or other, but these questions haunt the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's last days. Set in the waning era of the Allende socialist experiment, The Neruda Case
has the Nobel Laureate's ghost looming large on every page.
As the book opens, Neruda is host to a lively party at his beautiful house in Valparaíso. It is here that he meets Cayetano Brulé, an unemployed, wannabe detective. A Cuban immigrant to Chile, Cayetano has followed his lovely Chilean wife back to Valparaíso after she decides to become actively involved in her country's politics. Even though Cayetano is only just getting into the...
Beyond the Book
The country of Chile might be a vibrant democracy now - its shining "Jewel of the Pacific," Valparaíso, lined with upscale businesses and boutique hotels - but there have been turbulent upheavals in its recent political history, and the country's preeminent poet, Nobel Laureate, Pablo Neruda (born Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto), was a significant player in these events.
A left-leaning intellectual, Neruda wasted no time in praising Joseph Stalin and the USSR for helping to prevent the Nazi takeover of Europe. In time, however, as he became disillusioned with the man, Neruda's support for...