CHASING THE SUN: a Novel ~Natalia Sylvester
“The time for subtleties has long passed – the tank is just another radical gesture in the wake of random bombs, fires, and blackouts that have taunted the city as of late, loading even the quietest moments with fear as everyone secretly wonders where and when the next will strike.” (At 24% on the Kindle – unproofed copy)
Lima, Peru in 1992 was in a serious time of chaos and terrorist acts and the people were exhausted with worry nearly all the time. CHASING THE SUN is a fictional story about the rising industry of Kidnapping and one business man’s experience with 2 kidnappings and recovery of his childhood best friend and of his wife.
Andres and Marabela are having marital problems and there is tension between the two of them; no real efforts at clarifying the problem or making change. Marabela several months ago left home for 4 days to think things through but came back to care for her children, Ignacio and Cynthia. Then Marabela disappears and at first the family thinks it is just another time out and Andres lies to his children. Andres is a successful but not wealthy business man whose company makes labels for grocery canned goods. The family has a driver, a housekeeper and a maid.
As they begin to realize that Marabela has been kidnapped and the phone calls begin, Andres does everything he can think to do until it becomes apparent that he must hire help because he cannot go to the police – they may be the culprits.
His childhood best friend has been recovered after months and months of being kidnapped, Elena’s family used the services of this man and she is surviving, though has checked into a mental health facility to heal. Guillermo has a plan and it is working. Andres still loses everything including his business and his many employees.
There is a great deal of slow, drawn – out, tension in the story as one would expect and I for one was very glad I was not living there. It is a story in which I wished I knew more of the cultural heritage about Peru as I seemed to be missing that underlying history. I do understand that much of the unrest in the country was brought about by the Chicago School of Economics (AKA in the USA as the Paul Ryan Budget) and the Communist folks doing battle, and the ignorance of the general population. The country was on a killing spree and terrorism, drugs, and kidnappings (which was the best way to get money from the rich because trickle down was not happening and the 1% were in some kind of chaotic control) were the growth industries.
When the reader finally does meet Marabela, I could not believe how stereotypical a character she was. You begin knowing her as a talented and risk taking photographer and then in the last third of the story she becomes a controlling, dominating woman who finds almost nothing right in her life so takes all that is left and the children, (aren’t all Hispanic women dominant about their children?) and makes all the moves. And then, the grocery market is bombed…
“The story resonates with every tortured breath of a loyal husband caught between money and family, a troubled marriage, and an aching heart.” ~Jamie Ford, bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
I enjoyed reading this story from the other side of my experience. I was teaching a course about Compassion and Ethics in South and Central America at the time. I thought the marriage story within the historic story was an interesting way to share the experience. And the author using personal family history to share the political events made the book real.
TLC online book tours sent me an unproofed copy of this book to review and share with you CHASING THE SUN is a very interesting story and worth the read.