Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Translated Fiction
It Would Be Night in Caracas tells the story of Adelaida Falcón, whose mother has just died and she now finds herself despairing with grief and alone in the world, in a country torn by unrest, violence and scarcity.
Despite having given this book 3 stars, I actually really enjoyed It Would Be Night in Caracas and it left a strong impression on me. The portrayal of Venezuela and the violence, uncertainty and fear of its people was unforgettable and heartbreaking, and it opened my eyes to things one vaguely hears about on the news, and very often pays not much attention to. Venezuelan people have been under a dangerous government for years now and the political situation does not look like it will get better. Novels like these are incredibly important for bringing empathy to non-Venezuelans and putting the suffering of people on the foreground, instead of being relegated to something happening elsewhere and therefore unimportant.
The main reason why I gave it 3 stars is that, despite the incredibly powerful story, the writing didn’t agree with me. It’s the kind of factual, direct writing that does not leave space for flourishes and, for me, comes off as impersonal and clunky. It felt a lot like sentences put together instead of a story flowing naturally. Secondly, the way in which some characters were described felt fatphobic – I understand the contrast the author was trying to make between the starving people and those who stole & used violence being physically larger, but it came across as vilifying fatness.
I have seen this novel being described as “urgent”, and I quite agree. This is very readable and, even if I didn’t love the writing, I was turning pages and just needed to know what happened next. This reads somewhere between suspense and an apocalyptic dystopia (except it’s the real, current Venezuela). I highly recommend it for someone trying to read more Latinx fiction, or if you would like to read a hard-hitting contemporary novel by a new voice.