Summary and book reviews of The Invisible Mountain by Carolina De Robertis

The Invisible Mountain

By Carolina De Robertis

The Invisible Mountain
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  • Hardcover: Aug 2009,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2010,
    448 pages.

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Book Summary

On the first day of the century, a small town gathers to witness a miracle and unravel its portents: the mysterious reappearance of a lost infant, Pajarita. Later, as a young woman in the capital city—Montevideo, brimming with growth and promise—Pajarita begins a lineage of independent women. Her daughter Eva, intent on becoming a poet, overcomes an early, shattering betrayal to embark on a most unconventional path toward personal and artistic fulfillment. And Eva’s daughter Salomé, awakening to both her sensuality and political convictions amidst the violent turmoil of the late 1960s, finds herself dangerously attracted to a cadre of urban guerilla rebels.

From Perón's glittering Buenos Aires to the rustic hills of Rio de Janeiro, from the haven of a Montevideo butchershop to U.S. embassy halls, The Invisible Mountain celebrates a nation’s spirit, the will to survive in the most desperate of circumstances, and the fierce and complex connections between mother and daughter.

Uno

THE GIRL WHO APPEARED
IN A TREE

When Salomé finally wrote to her daughter—by then a young woman, a stranger, thousands of miles away—she said everything that disappears is somewhere, as if physics could turn back time and save them both. It was a maxim she'd learned in school: energy is neither lost nor created. Nothing truly goes away. People are energy too, and when you cannot see them they've just changed places, or changed forms, or sometimes both. There is the exception of black holes, which swallow things without leaving even the slightest trace, but Salomé let her pen keep moving as if they did not exist.

Her skirts were wet and clung to her legs and her pen moved and moved without her hand seeming to push it, forming the spires and spikes and loops of cursive words, sharp t's and j's, y's and g's with knots at their base as though to tie themselves together, tie women back together, and ...

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About This Book

On the first day of the millennium, a small town gathers to witness a miracle—the mysterious reappearance of a lost infant, Pajarita—and unravel its portents for the century. Later, as a young woman in the capital city—Montevideo, brimming with growth and promise—Pajarita begins a lineage of fiercely independent women. Her daughter, Eva, survives a brutal childhood to pursue her dreams as a rebellious poet and along the hazardous precipices of erotic love. Eva's daughter, Salomé, driven by an unrelenting idealism, commits clandestine acts that will end in tragedy as unrest sweeps Uruguay. But what saves them all is the fierce fortifying connection between mother and daughter that ...
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Reviews

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The Invisible Mountain, set in Uruguay, is an incisive examination of some of life’s trickier dilemmas, including when to place family at the forefront, and when to honor your own ideals even at the expense of others. The novel is also an enchanting new entry in the realm of contemporary Latin American literature. De Robertis brings Montevideo, Uruguay's capital, to life in scene after scene; considering the scope and depth of this little-known gem on the banks of the Río de la Plata, it should come as no surprise to learn the work was eight years in the making. It’s been well-worth the wait.   (Reviewed by Karen Rigby).

Full Review Members Only (968 words).

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Enchanting, funny and heartbreaking…Beautifully written yet deliberate in its storytelling...an extraordinary first effort whose epic scope and deft handling reverberate with the deep pull of ancestry, the powerful influence of one's country and the sacrifices of reinvention."

Booklist

Starred Review. De Robertis is a skilled storyteller, but it is her use of language – from the precision of poetry to the sensuality of sex – that makes this literary debut so exceptional.

Kirkus Reviews

Beautifully wrought…Miracles, poetry, and guerrilla fighters march through the twentieth century in De Robertis's winning debut…Dense and lush, filled with lyrical storytelling.

The San Francisco Chronicle

[T]he kind of novel you stay up late to finish and lie awake thinking about. It is breathless, full of tenderness; despite its grim political realities, a faint, fairy-tale quality lights it... On occasion its lavishness runneth over; Events dovetail a little too conveniently; emotions (and prose) grow so frantically sweeping as to feel strained.

The Daily Beast

The brainiest dynastic novel in years. A high-end story full of sex, politics and family.

Elle

Carolina De Robertis’ incantatory debut novel... is both an homage to and a reckoning with Uruguay... this visionary book beautifully, bravely breaks open all the old secrets.

Reader Reviews
Jacqueline

The Invisible Mountain
This book consumed me! So well written I couldn't put it down. It stands out amongst the many books that I have read as one that I would keep and happily read again.

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Beyond the Book

Uruguay
Uruguay (map of South America) is home to about 3.5 million people about half of whom live in or around the capital city of Montevideo. Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a stronghold. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil, the country won its independence in 1828 following a 500 day conflict.

Early 20th century administrations established widespread political, social, and economic reforms; but a violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to cede control of the government to the military in 1973. Even though the rebels were crushed by the end of the year, the military remained in control until civilian rule was ...

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