The Dark Bride
author : laura restrepo
pages : [paperback] 368
Once a month, the refinery workers of the Tropical Oil Company descend upon Tora, a city in the Colombian forest. They journey down from the mountains searching for earthly bliss and hoping to encounter Sayonara, the legendary Indian prostitute who rules their squalid paradise like a queen. Beautiful, exotic, and mysterious, Sayonara, the undisputed barrio angel, captivates whoever crosses her path. Then, one day, she violates the unwritten rules of her profession and falls in love with a man she can never have. Sayonara’s unrequited passion has tragic consequences not only for her, but for all those whose lives ultimately depend on the Tropical Oil Company.
A slyly humorous yet poignant love story, The Dark Bride lovingly recreates the lusty, heartrending world of Colombian prostitutes and the men of the oil fields who are entranced by them. Full of wit and intelligence, tragedy and compassion, The Dark Bride is luminous and unforgettable.
The Dark Bride is an intense book that will definitely keep you interested, though it isn’t the best novel that I’ve ever read. I needed to read it for class and found myself needing to push through it because I wasn’t very connected with the characters. I thought that the setting was interesting and was depressed about the lack of possibilities for the men and especially the women living in this area. I haven’t read much about Colombia so in itself I thought that it was a good experience to read more about a place that I’m not so informed about.
I think that the writing in this book is great! I really liked it, though I realize that this is a translation. It’s impossible to tell what the author would have chosen to say if she’d written the novel originally in English. I’m glad that I read a good translation, then, that got me interested in the book. I think that plenty of people who wouldn’t normally reach for this type of book would like the writing and get into the plot because of it. I definitely don’t read fiction like this when I typically read for pleasure but I’m trying to expand my horizons. I think that this is a good novel to pick if you’re looking to learn more about the world and read something outside of your typical box.
I’d recommend this book but I wouldn’t say that it’s one you should push yourself to read. If you’re looking to read something not so mainstream and that’ll make you more informed about another culture, try out The Dark Bride.