- Paperback: 250 pages
- Published: 4/1/09
- IBSN: 9781933354729
- e-IBSN: 9781617750588
- Genre: Fiction
Bolivia’s preeminent fiction writer eclipses the successful English translation of American Visa with a riveting murder mystery. Translated by Adrian Althoff.
“It takes a gutsy publisher like Akashic to bring the works of the Bolivian novelist Juan De Recacoechea into English. Subtle, nuanced, elegantly styled and beautifully translated by Adrian Althoff, Andean Express is a great introduction to this gifted author’s work . . . It’s the interchange between the characters that’s at the heart of this novel. De Recacoechea has touches of the old noir masters like Jim Thompson, but the voice is uniquely his . . .”
—Globe and Mail (Canada)
“More Camus than mystery thriller, [Andean Express] delights like strong coffee savored in a cosmopolitan cafe.”
“This spare, quirky book freezes an unexpected moment: forty-eight hours in the intertwined lives of a dozen beautifully realized characters aboard a moving train. Andean Express gets quietly under your skin like the almost-unnoticed rhythm of the rails.”
—S.J. Rozan, author of The Shanghai Moon
“Bolivia’s heir to the classic noir of Jim Thompson and Raymond Chandler, Juan de Recacoechea writes with a cold eye for the dark details. He straps you to your chair with braided tales of a simmering vengeance, a high-stakes poker showdown, and an achingly slow-cooked seduction . . . Andean Express is first-class suspense.”
—Robert Arellano, author of Havana Lunar
Set in 1952, Andean Express is the story of a tragic overnight train journey that unfolds in an environment at once carnivalesque and sinister. Beginning near La Paz, Bolivia, the austere Andean plateau serves as a surreal backdrop for most of the trip before giving way to a winding descent to the Chilean coast. Ricardo Beintigoitia, a recent high school graduate from a prosperous La Paz family, unwittingly becomes ensnared in the personal drama of one of his peers, a captivating girl named Gulietta Carletti who has been forced into an arranged marriage with a man she despises.
On the Andean Express, everybody wants something and no one is exactly who he seems. Recacoechea’s lean, elegant prose crackles with sharp dialogue and entertaining exchanges among a disparate cast of characters, each with his own ax to grind. The train is a microcosm of Bolivia itself, with people from all walks of life, from peasants to politicians, forming a circus of personalities and intrigue in which tragedy seems inevitable, and improbable liaisons become reality.
JUAN DE RECACOECHEA was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and worked as a journalist in Europe for almost twenty years. After returning to his native country, he helped found Bolivia’s first state-run television network and dedicated himself to fiction writing. His novel American Visa won Bolivia’s National Book Prize, was adapted into an award-winning film, and was translated into English and published by Akashic Books to great critical acclaim. Andean Express is his latest work.