Perla by Carolina De Robertis

Photo: Jesus Ayala/Studio D

17 of 17
256 pages; Knopf
To come of age in the newly restored democracy of Argentina in the years following the country's military dictatorship is difficult. To grow up as the daughter of a naval officer responsible for the disappearance of an untold number of innocent people is beyond complicated. Perla Correa, the heroine of Carolina De Robertis's mesmerizing novel Perla (Knopf), has known since she was a little girl not to mention her father's career in front of classmates, whose madres march in the Plaza de Mayo wearing white scarves in memory of the desaparecidos, their missing family members. Perla has always understood that around the family dinner table, "the Hidden loomed among us, impossible to shrug off or deny." But it takes the appearance of a ghostly visitor in Perla's living room to make her understand that her family is not exactly who or what she'd thought. This is a moving, poetic novel about the costs of revolution and the evolutionary process that is identity. Or as Perla puts it, "Becoming is an infinite road."
— Abbe Wright