A guest review from Stephen Shieber
The Blue Hour
by Alonso Cueto
Adrian Ormache is a successful lawyer, enjoying a charmed life in Lima, Peru. When his venerable mother dies, he is forced to confront the ugly truths that lie beneath the surface of polite society. These truths relate to Adrian's dead father, Colonel Ormache and his conduct towards the 'Shining Path' guerrillas during Peru's civil war in the 1980s. As Adrian draws closer to his father's conduct, his whole life turns upside down and he must find a way to accommodate the ghosts of the past to ensure his future.
Cueto's prose, translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne, confronts the horrors of war with stark beauty. Occasionally tenses slip confusingly, but this is a slight criticism of a novel that warms and appalls by turns. Adrian remains a sympathetic character, even when engaged in dubious action. His attempts to heal past wounds appear to be futile, but the reader wants him to rise from the ashes of his notions of his family and find the right path in a confused world. There are some graphic descriptions of the evils perpetrated by both sides of the war that are not for the squeamish, but there is also a sense of hope. Cueto makes it clear that 'the sins of the father' can be redeemed by his children.
Many thanks to Stephen for this review.
Thanks to the publishers for the review copy of this book.