Thoughts on: Perla by Carolina De Robertis

June 7, 2012
Article first published as Book Review: Perla by Carolina De Robertis on Blogcritics.

Perla by Carolina De Robertis is a historical fiction book about Argentina’s Dirty War. The author is a daughter to Uruguayan parents, but her grandparents were Argentineans in exile.

The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book—use the Rafflecopter form at the end of the post to enter.

  • 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307599590

Thoughts on: Perla by Carolina De RobertisMy rating for Perla5
Buy this book in paper or electronic format*
More Books by Carolina De Rebertis*

I very much enjoyed The Invisible Mountain (my thoughts) and when I got the email to ask if I’d like to join the tour for Carolina De Robertis’ Perla I jumped at the opportunity. The novel has many aspects one could see it from it is a coming of age story, historical literature and supernatural aspects so prominent in Latin literature.

One thing is for certain, Ms. De Robertis (website | Facebook |Twitter) can write, Perla is a beautiful novel about an ugly situation. Even the parts about the horrendous acts the Argentinean government committed against its own people are beautifully written.

“The day the black boots came for him was a pretty day, with bright blue slices of sky between the buildings”.

As in many of the books I read, especially about World War II, I always ponder what makes good people do bad things?
Could it be the herd mentality?
The firm belief that you are actually keeping the country together?
That you are the “good guys” in the story?

This type of questions are a part of the story which the author tackles. Ms. De Robertis tell her tale focusing on the long term affects of the war blending history, fiction, shame, honor and magic in an engrossing yarn. The author offers just enough context within the story to appreciate the history which the story revolves around, while certainly not a definitive historical book, it is not meant to be as such, but simply wets the apatite to read some more.

Perla is an elegant, poetic and deceptively simple book which tells of a young woman coming to grip with her own history at the time Argentina comes to grip with its own past.

So tell me, why do you think good people do bad things?

Perla, a young woman and a university student, seeks to find answers. The tradition in her family is to not to ask questions, especially about her father’s activities during the time known as Argentina’s Dirty War. As Perla grows up, she separates her family life from her personal life.

One day, after Perla arrives home she finds a strange man in her living room. The man is soaked and oozes water all the time, surprising even herself, Perla reacts to this “vision” by giving him food and shelter only to realize that he is one of the “disappeared”, a victim of the Dirty War, and might hold the key to her past.

Buy this book in paper or electronic format

More Books by Carolina De Rebertis


  • Give­away ends: June 14, 2012

  • US/Canada Ship­ping Addresses Only

  • No PO Boxes

  • Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked

Congratulations: laurabolin4@

TLC Book Tour for Perla:

Thursday, May 10th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Monday, May 14th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Wednesday, May 16th: nomadreader
Thursday, May 17th: A Novel Source
Friday, May 18th: The Book Garden
Monday, May 21st:Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, May 23rd: Book Reviews by Molly
Friday, May 25th:Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, May 29th: Take Me Away
Monday, June 4th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, June 5th: lit*chick
Thursday, June 7th: Man of La Book
TBD:Just Joanna

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free fromTLC Book Tours

BOOK BLOGGERS – Have you read Perla? If so link up your review below:

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Perla by Carolina De Robertis


  • HeatherJune 7, 2012 at 11:14 am

    This sounds really good.

    I think there are a number of reasons why good people do bad things, and in a perfect world it wouldn’t happen…

  • Laura KayJune 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    This looks really good! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Laura Kay

  • CarlJune 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    This looks like a really interesting take on a difficult topic. Thanks for hosting this event.


  • MargieJune 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Looks like an intriguing book. Thanks for the giveaway. I think some people don’t have a conscience, and doing bad things doesn’t phase them. But I would hope this is a very small percentage. I think most people are basically good.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  • Carolina De RobertisJune 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Zohar, thank you so much for this thoughtful, intriguing take on my novel. I’m honored that you took that time, and that you enjoyed it as much as you did.

    @Heather and @Margie, I think you’re both so right that there are many different factors that go into people committing terrible acts, and that there is essential goodness in the vast majority of people. As part of researching this novel, I turned to many psychological portraits of perpetrators of mass violence, both in Argentina and beyond (Nazi war criminals, for example). What I found was this very difficult, complicated truth: that those who are part of committing atrocities are not monsters, but human beings. Their acts are monstrous. They dehumanize their victims in their minds. Some of them seem to be able to sleep at night, while others are deeply plagued and haunted.

    In any case, it was very important to me, in PERLA, to really portray the human face of that side of the story, because without that piece I’m not sure we can ever collectively move beyond mass violence. And who better to really grapple with the flawed humanity of a perpetrator than that man’s beloved daughter? That’s part of how Perla Correa was born.

    Thank you, Zohar, for sparking this discussion with your powerful question!

    • Zohar - Man of la BookJune 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Dear Carolina, thank you for stopping by and participating in this most interesting discussion. Another interesting book about why bad people do bad things is Shadows Walking by Douglas R. Skopp (

      You are a treasure.

  • Twisty JJune 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    This sounds at the same time both creepy and beautiful. What a great review.

  • Julie RupertJune 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book ToursJune 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    This sounds like a beautiful book about a difficult subject, and one that is very worth reading.

    Thanks for being on the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

  • MarjorieJune 10, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Sounds like a very interesting storyline.

  • Anita YanceyJune 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. Thanks for having the giveaway.

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