Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: Sobre héroes y tumbas

Sobre héroes y tumbas
Sobre héroes y tumbas by Ernesto Sábato

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sobre Héroes y Tumbas is the second novel by Ernesto Sabato. It was a good complex read that explores the depth of humanity. The book starts with an announcement that the late Alejandra Vidal Olmos has just shot her father and then burned herself alive, and so, the book is mainly about the lives of these two characters and what led to the afore mentioned situation, though the plot is developed through other characters.

Before continuing, I must say that the book was divided into four chapters. Each chapter's name has an important meaning, so don't forget them:

1. El dragón y la princesa (The dragon and the princess)
2. Los rostros invisibles (The invisible faces)
3. Informe sobre ciegos (Report on the blind)
4. Un dios desconocido (An unknown god)

Martín is the protagonist of parts one and two of the novel. He is a troubled teenager who feels loneliness most of the time. He doesn't feel loved and he's in constant search for himself. In this situation is in which he meets Alejandra, a beautiful and mysterious lady who claims to need him. Thus, Martín is quickly immersed in Alejandra's world, and thus, he falls in love with her, which only causes more loneliness inside him, since Alejandra is very reserved and can be cruel at times, because of the things she faced in her past.

And let's don't forget about part three of the book, the Report on the blind. That one was simply astounding. It could almost feel as fantasy. In this part, for those who haven't read this book, Alejandra's father (Fernando) is the narrator. He is obsessed with blind people. For him, blind people are the ones who rule society by a supposed sect in which the members are solely blind. From this, we can clearly see that Fernando is a paranoid and very selfish, what we would call “an unlikeable character”.

Having read both El Túnel and this one, I can say for sure that Sabato was a talented writer. Did you know he was a physicist and he left science to dedicate his entire time in writing? No? Well, now you can go and tell your family and friends this new fact. Of course this was not necessary, but I wanted to mention it. His writing is captivating and beautiful.

One thing I really liked was that the characters were greatly developed, especially their psychological side, which sometimes is left untouched. This is something that, in both of books I've read by Sabato, is well done.

The novel's title was perhaps what initially brought my attention to it. I won't say anything concerning this matter besides that it is powerful. Consider it: Sobre héroes y tumbas. In English, On Heroes and Tombs. Heroes... tombs... Throughout the novel I wanted to understand the meaning of its title, and now, I finally do. And it does justice to it. You'd better read it to get what I mean...

What else can I say besides what I've already said? Well, for one, I will most certainly read the last one of Sabato's novels. And then, I recommend you to read this book. It is complex, but it is intriguing and is well written. I'll probably re-read this eventually, just to make sure I understood it completely. Not that re-reading it is something bad. No. I will gladly read it a hundred times.

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