Jun 23, 2009

Andean Express by Juan de Recacoechea, book review

Teaser Tuesday meme courtesy of MizB at Should Be Reading. Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two “teaser” sentences from that page, plus the title and author of the book. Please avoid spoilers!
Andean Express
"He didn't know her very well, but from their few conversations on the train, he concluded that she was going through tough times. Marrying a guy she hated, who'd had a lot to do with her father's death, had clearly been a mistake that was affecting her deeply." (p. 71)
Who is the main character? 
I'm a young high school graduate spending 48 hours on a train from La Paz, Bolivia going through the high Andean plateau to Arica, Chile on the coastline, to join my parents. During the trip, I become unwittingly entangled in the lives of several passengers, including a girl in an arranged marriage.

Review: Reminds me of other train trips such as Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. This is also a murder mystery, described as in the style of "classic noir."

I give this mystery novel 3 1/2 stars, maybe four if I could have read it in the original Spanish! Some things are often lost in translation! The train ride from the bowl of the city of La Paz up to the rim, across the stark and dry plateau, and then down to the coastline of Chile was the highlight of the book for me. Descriptions of the scenery, the sunsets, the people, and the few lonely homesteads on the plateau, were very interesting. I once flew over the Andes on the way from Brazil back to the U.S. and often wondered what it was like down below. 

Also, relationships among mestizos, Indians, and Europeans in Bolivia are revealed on board the Andean Express. Granted this train ride was set some 40 years ago, I believe, and there is a hint in the novel about pending social change by a new political party.

The plot followed the general scheme of Murder on the Orient Express and other mystery train rides, but this "noir" novel is not a traditional mystery.  Alderete has married a young woman from the upper social classes in Bolivia. It's an arranged marriage. Alderete is hated by close to a dozen people on the train, including his reluctant bride. A young high school graduate traveling to Chile to meet his parents witnesses the interactions and is used as an unwitting pawn in the developments. 

Noir and mystery lovers, and armchair travelers, will enjoy Andean Express. 

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Caspette said...

Sounds good, but not for the girl. That sounds sad.

Have a great week!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

WOW..this one is sure intriguing. Have to check it out!

Unknown said...

I would want to read it ..Teaser

Sassy Brit @ Alternative-Read.com said...

I like the sound of this, too!

Thanks for sharing.

Here is my Tuesday Teaser!


jlshall said...

I love books and movies set on trains. This one sounds really sad. Nice teasers, though!

Teddyree said...

Intriguing teaser from a book and author I haven't heard of.
Here's my Teaser

Margot said...

Just from your two teasers this sounds good.

Hilarie said...

This teaser has me wondering, why did this girl marry such a man in the first place? There must be more to the story. And that is why this is a great teaser!

gautami tripathy said...

This is a great teaser! I wanns know more!

Tuesdays: Teasers/Whereabouts

Lisa said...

I would definitely say that marrying a guy you hated was a bad idea! Good teaser.

My teaser is here.

Anonymous said...

This sounds good. And the comparison to the Orient Express convinced me to add it to me list.

BurtonBookReview said...

Pretty interesting storyline..

kayerj said...

oh I feel so bad for the girl, nice teaser

Anonymous said...

Sounds great - I love train books!

Phyl said...

If it really was an arranged marriage, it might not have been entirely in the girl's control, whether or not she married him. But you do pity her. Really good teaser!

Mine is at Bookishgal.

Nise' said...

Sounds like a mistake to me too. Good teaser.

Sassy Brit @ Alternative-Read.com said...

Hey, hope you don't mind but you've been tagged!

Here's what I am on about. :) No pressure, though.

What's on Your Desk Wednesday?

Have fun!


Harvee said...

Sassy Brit: Sorry I can't make it this time; I'm all memed out this week! Will try to do it another week! Thanks for tagging me!

Staci said...

That sounds like a very interesting train trip!! Enjoy!

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