Excerpt from The Invisible Mountain by Carolina De Robertis, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Invisible Mountain

by Carolina De Robertis

The Invisible Mountain by Carolina De Robertis X
The Invisible Mountain by Carolina De Robertis
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2009, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2010, 448 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Doña Rosa opened her mouth, then closed it. No one spoke. Artigas looked up again at the infant in the treetop. She stared back. She was far away, close close to heaven, yet he could swear he saw the texture of her eyes: dark pools, wide awake, red veins in the whites. He imagined himself soaring up to meet her.

"Wait for me," he called into the foliage.

He mounted his horse and galloped down the hill.

He found Tía Tita outside their hut, plucking a chicken. He dismounted in a rush and told her everything about the morning plaza, the crowd around the ceibo, the child up on the branch. She listened. She tilted her face to the sun. Her lips moved without making any sound.

She wiped her wide hands on her apron and untied it. "Let's go."

By the time they arrived at the ceibo, most of the town had formed a ring around it. Women had brought their children, children had brought their great-grandparents, men had brought wives, the stray dogs from the plaza had brought one another. Horses grazed. Doña Rosa had sacrificed the front of her dress to kneel on the ground and pray intensely with her rosary that had been blessed sixteen years earlier by the pope. The shopkeeper's son brandished a wooden flute. Dogs barked and brayed. Several mate gourds and baskets of empanadas circulated from hand to hand. Arguments rose and broke and rose again, about the girl, about the pastries, about who drank how much and did what with whom last night in the plaza. The infant stared at them from the high foliage, which held her like an adoptive guardian's arms.

Tía Tita and Artigas slid from their shared saddle. The crowd grew quiet. Tía Tita was not tall, but she was large somehow, hard-jawed, commanding. "Leave us alone," she said, looking at the baby but speaking to the throng. No one wanted to miss the story, break up the party, let someone else fix the problem. But Tía Tita—odd, unfathomable, needed for the cure of old men's creaks and the froth on soldiers' mouths—could not be easily denied. Slowly, grudgingly, the crowd dispersed.

"You too, Artigas."

He did as he was told. Horseflesh moved damply below his thighs. The air was hot and thick and heavy. He joined a cluster that had formed in the shade of an ombú, and turned to watch from his saddle: Tita and that high speck of a girl, still and dark against a ruthless sky.Tita raised her arms and seemed to wait, and then the treetop shook and rushed with leaves and sudden-downward-streaking and her arms closed around a thing that thudded against her chest. Artigas watched his aunt walk from the tree, away from town, returning home on foot. By the time the moon had risen, all of Tacuarembó knew the story of the fall that turned to flight or flight that turned to fall.

They called her Pajarita. Little Bird.



Not all lives begin that way. Look at Ignazio Firielli. He never disappeared or reappeared or had a village call him miraculous. He did have his day with magic, once he was a grown man far from home, but even then it was for a single day that only served the purpose of forcing him toward love. That's how he told it, anyway, years later, to his grandchildren—especially to Salomé, listening, smiling, fatal secrets tucked away. He would say the sight of a certain woman made magic spring from his hands. It was only as a carnival performer, bumbling through tricks in a gaudy suit. But memory is an expert at sleight-of-hand: it can raise up things that glitter and leave clumsiness and pain to be swallowed by the dark.

Before Ignazio knew a thing about magic, or Uruguay, or women born from trees, he knew Venezia. He held Venezia in his body: the canals, vast, veinlike; the lilting brass of his language; the smells of brine and basil and freshly cut wood in his family home. Above all, he knew gondolas. It was the family business to make gondolas of every size and style. Arcs of wood leaned beside the window; he could trace them with his hands and eyes and know where he belonged. Their shapes could keep a person gliding on the surface of the water, he could not drown, he would not drown, surrounded by planks and prows, gondolas for fishing, for coupling, for heading to the market, and, most of all, gondolas for taking the dead to the tomb-ridden Isle of San Michele.

Excerpted from The Invisible Mountains by Carolina De Robertis Copyright © 2009 by Carolina De Robertis. Excerpted by permission of Knopf. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Uruguay

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Big Vape
    Big Vape
    by Jamie Ducharme
    In Big Vape, TIME reporter Jamie Ducharme studies the short but inflammatory history of Juul. Her ...
  • Book Jacket: Love and Fury
    Love and Fury
    by Samantha Silva
    Mary Wollstonecraft is best known for being an early advocate for women's rights and the mother of ...
  • Book Jacket: Walking on Cowrie Shells
    Walking on Cowrie Shells
    by Nana Nkweti
    The stories in Nana Nkweti's dexterous debut collection examine the raw alienation of being ...
  • Book Jacket: The Personal Librarian
    The Personal Librarian
    by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray
    The Personal Librarian drew a robust positive response from our First Impressions reviewers, ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The War Nurse
by Tracey Enerson Wood
A sweeping novel by an international bestselling author based on a true World War I story.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    by Kristin Harmel

    An evocative coming-of-age World War II story from the author of The Book of Lost Names.

  • Book Jacket

    The Temple House Vanishing
    by Rachel Donohue

    A modern gothic page-turner set in a Victorian mansion in Ireland.

Win This Book!
Win Gordo

Gordo by Jaime Cortez

"Dark and hilarious ... singular and soaring ... Hands down, top debut of 2021."—Literary Hub

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

N Say N

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.