The Blue Hour by Alonso Cueto

Book Description (

Adrian Ormache is a prosperous lawyer living in Lima. He has the perfect life: a great career, beautiful wife, two doting and intelligent daughters. But when his mother dies a series of events devastate his entire view of the past, his parents, and his country.

Adrian’s mother leaves a letter indicating that she was being blackmailed. Confused, Adrian talks to his brother, who tells him that their long dead father Colonel Ormache, who led military operations against the ‘Shining Path’ guerrillas during the terrible Peruvian Civil War of the 1980’s, was not quite the hero Adrian had always considered him to be: he routinely had POWs and civilian women raped, tortured and executed. His mother’s blackmailer is revealed to be one of the Colonel’s former subordinates. When Adrian confronts him the man gives him the name of the one prisoner whom the Colonel spared and kept as a lover – Miriam.

Adrian becomes obsessed with finding Miriam. His search is cathartic and all-consuming, a journey that takes him into a country that is a far-cry from the stable, civilised Lima he’s used to, a people still haunted by a harrowing, ongoing war, and some truths about his family – and himself – that he could never have imagined.

The Random House Group

The Blue Hour was the winner of the 2005 Premio Herralde de novela for world’s best Spanish novel. (La hora azul, Anagrama) Highly recommended.

Alonso Cueto webpage

La venganza del silencio de Alonso Cueto

Planeta Perú, 2010. 320 páginas. ISBN: 978-612-45165-9-7

This post is bilingual, scroll down for the English language version

La propaganda de la editorial dice:

“Un hombre de la aristocracia de Lima aparece muerto en el medio de la calle, con un disparo en el corazón. Mientras las conjeturas se van apilando a su alrededor, el narrador-sobrino de la víctima- decide investigar quién podría ser el asesino. Entonces emergen los secretos en la vida de su tío muerto: su romance clandestino, su pasado oculto, sus relaciones verdaderas con los parientes.

En esta búsqueda no solo aparecerá la verdad sobre el crimen sino, sobretodo los secretos lazos que han movido a los personajes de su familia. La venganza del silencio es una historia policial ambientada en los pulidos salones y corredores de una gran casona, por donde corren los vientos del pasado familiar. La geografía interior de esta casa, sus superficies relucientes, aparece como un determinante de la conducta de sus miembros.”

Sinceramente no me ha gustado nada este libro. He estado a punto de dejarlo varias veces. La historia es plana y aburrida. Algunas escenas se repiten a menudo. Me pregunto si La hora azulfue escrita por el mismo autor. No pierda su tiempo con este libro, no vale la pena leerlo ¿Cómo puede ser considerada una historia policial?

The Revenge of Silence by Alonso Cueto

The publisher’s blurb reads:

“A man from Lima’s aristocracy appears dead in the middle of the street, with a bullet through his heart. While the conjectures start piling up around him, the narrator -nephew of the victim- decides to investigate who the killer could be. Then the secrets of his uncle’s life emerge: his secret romance, his hidden past, his true relationship with his family.

In this search not only will truth regarding the crime come to light, but also the victim’s dealings with his relations. The Revenge of Silence is a detective story set in the refined halls and corridors of a large house, where the family’s past walks confined to its walls. The interior geography of this house appears to be a decisive factor in the conduct of its members”.

Honestly, I did not liked at all this book. I’ve been close to put it down several times. The story is flat and boring. Some scenes are often repeated. I wonder if La hora azul (The blue hour) was written by the same author. Don’t waste your time with this book, it is not worth reading it. How can it be considered a detective story?

Crime Fiction Alphabet 2011: C is for Cueto, Alonso Cueto

Alonso Cueto (Lima, 1954) is a well known Peruvian writer. His book La hora azul, Anagrama, 2005 (The Blue Hour) won the XXIII Premio Herralde de Novela. His last novel is entitled La venganza del silencio, Planeta 2010 (The Revenge of Silence).

Cueto’s novels are not available in English. However, if my information is correct, William Heinemann/Random House UK has acquired World English Rights of Alonso Cueto’s La hora azul. Set in the late 90s in Peru, this is a journey towards the hidden side of families and societies, a novel about the exploration of the forbidden chapters of a man’s family. The story, dramatic and moving, is told with the gripping style and rhythm of a detective story where Cueto’s writing flows effortlessly (taken from New Spanish Books).You can read more about La hora azul HERE.

I am planning to read soon La venganza del silencio. Stay tuned. You can read my previous posts HERE and HERE.

Alonso Cueto Biography at Berlin International Festival of Literature.

Terror, bribery and intrigue: the bloody past fuelling Lima’s literary renaissance at

Alonso Cueto official website

The Crime Fiction Alphabet 2011, a Community meme, is hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. You can read the posts of other fellow participants HERE and/or contribute with one of your own. You don’t have to write a post every week.

Two Gifts from Peru (Peruvian Crime Fiction)

Libros Peru I have just received these two gifts from two Peruvian friends currently visiting Spain. I was very much interested in The first one, La venganza del silencio (The Revenge of Silence) by Alonso Cueto. See my previous post HERE. In fact it was my request when I first heard they were coming. The other one was their choice. Morirás mañana: El escritor sale a matar. (You Will Die Tomorrow: The Writer Goes On to Kill) by Jaime Bayly. I hope to read them soon.

You can read the first chapter of Bayly’s book HERE.

Stay tune.

For more information about Peru, you can download yesterday FT special report HERE.

La venganza del silencio by Alonso Cueto

Alonso Cueto (Lima, 1954) is the author of several novels, short stories and essays. He recently published a study on Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti, El Soñador en la Penumbra (Fondo Cultural Económica, 2009). Cueto has won several distinctions for his literary work, including the prestigious Herralde Award (Spain 2005) for his novel La Hora Azul (The Blue Hour), the 2007 Casa de Américas-Planeta second-place prize for his novel Susurro de la Mujer Ballena (Sigh of the Whale Woman) and the Anna Seghers Prize for his body of work (Germany, 2000).  He also received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation grant in 2002. Filmmaker Francisco Lombardi adapted Cueto’s novel Grandes Miradas (Knowing Gazes) to the screen in “Mariposa Negra,” which won several international awards. Cueto’s work has been translated into 15 languages, including Chinese and Korean. Random House recently bought the rights for the English-language translation of La Hora Azul.  Cueto lives in Lima, Peru, where he teaches literature and writing workshops at the Universidad Católica. (From Alonso Cueto’s website here, the rest is in Spanish)

From Cueto I have read only La hora azul (The Blue Hour) and I liked it. His latest book, a crime fiction novel, La venganza del silencio (Revenge of Silence),  tells the story tale of a man who wants to solve a murder. Everything takes place in an aristocratic Lima family, whose life was spent in apparent normality until the day of the crime.. It has received excellent reviews. Unfortunately it does not seem to be available in Spain yet but I will try to get a copy from some Peruvian friends.

Read the first chapter here (in Spanish)

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