TALES FROM THE BLUE ARCHIVES by Lawrence Thornton

TALES FROM THE BLUE ARCHIVES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The rousing, tearjerking last of a trilogy (Imagining Argentina, 1987; Naming the Spirits, 1995) involving Argentine psychic Carlos Rueda. Though only bit players here, Rueda and his daughter Teresa appear among many eerie, magical-realist touches in this richly, evocatively told, blood-is-thicker-than-blood melodrama. As the proud and fatuous Argentine General Rodolfo Guzm†n attends the christening of his grandson, hoping that the future generation will benefit from the horrors he's committed, Dolores Masson, a grandmother, still mourns the loss of her family in Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo, especially her two grandsons, then infants, who were among the desaparecidos--the unknown millions abducted, tortured, and murdered by the country's now-deposed military junta. Refusing to give up hope, Masson visits Rueda and Teresa and is told that the boys, now teenagers, are alive and well in the remote fishing village of Mar Vista. Masson immediately departs for Mar Vista, hoping to bring the boys back home but failing to consider how the intervening years may have affected them. Indeed, Manfredo and Tom†s have no memory of their real parents, or even of their former names. To make matters more complicated, General Guzm†n, possibly implicated in yet another revelation of political atrocities committed while the military was in power, gave the boys to their foster parents, Eduardo and Biatrix Ponce, who once tended a killing field for him. Causing more emotional harm than good, Masson, with her knowledge of the boys' birthmarks, gets custody while the two undergo genetic testing. The general, fearing exposure of darker deeds, tries to sabotage the tests, setting off a series of suspenseful, grandly tragic plot twists ultimately leading to suicide, murder, and a rain of lamentation. For all its operatic pomp, Thornton's vision of beyond-the-grave revenge and retribution comes off as heartwrenchingly sincere. A simmering, passionately satisfying, character-driven finale. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1997
ISBN: 0-385-48010-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997




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