A haunting political thriller with a unique storyline and memorable characters. Andres Orce is a former Lieutenant in the military and is presently running for the leadership of his party in Parliament. But the real ruling power is the military and the road to political victory is long, as many party members cannot abide by his nonpartisanship, favoring other candidates more malleable to their cause. Murder, destruction, power and greed rule in a political game full of epic consequences.
Plot: Chowdhury delivers a complex, sometimes challenging novel centered on trauma, political tensions, and revolution.
Prose: The prose is somewhat uneven in its execution, with sections devoted to political circumstances reading stiffly and dryly. Conversely, the novel’s focus on Orca’s personal struggles, growth, and tragedies, are dynamic, lyrical, and vivid.
Originality: The integration of the sociopolitical and personal is intriguing and novel in execution, as is the novel's approach to storytelling.
Character/Execution: The protagonist is undoubtedly engaging, particularly when his development is allowed to be front and center in the narrative. Additional characters have a tendency to become lost in the novel’s many threads and in the policy-focused sections of the work.
Date Submitted: May 01, 2020
The book is immediately gripping as it focuses on Orce’s horrible nightmares and his relationships with his family and friends. The transition into pure political theater is a jarring one as characters and schemes blur into one another. Chowdhury crafts a startling sense of realism in the parts of the story that deal with policy and politics. However, when he strays away from Orce’s feelings and experiences, the novel becomes dry and didactic. The details of revolution may be irreducibly complex, but when Chowdhury focuses on the fine details of negotiation for chapters at a time, it can be hard to follow.
Some interesting characters, such as an amoral financier named Snell, appear and then disappear. Others receive little development. However, when the book comes back around to Orce and his tragic story, it finishes strongly. The revelation that Orce’s motives are as personal as they are political lends additional depth to his character. The book is stuffed with fascinating economic and political ideas and has a great protagonist, but the extraneous details detract from the drama of its plot as well as the plight of its hero.
Takeaway: Readers interested in the gritty details of revolution will appreciate this story of a rabble-rouser’s personal and political tragedies.
Great for fans of Erico Verissimo’s O Senhor Embaixador.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: C