Author: Andrea Yaryura Clark
Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Mar. 1, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Grand Central Publishing, HBG Canada
Book Rating: 8/10
In this moving, emotional narrative of love and resilience, a young couple confronts the start of Argentina’s Dirty War in the 1970s, and a daughter searches for truth twenty years later.
New York, 1998. Santiago Larrea, a wealthy Argentine diplomat, is holding court alongside his wife, Lila, and their daughter, Paloma, a college student and budding jewelry designer, at their annual summer polo match and soiree. All seems perfect in the Larreas’ world—until an unexpected party guest from Santiago’s university days shakes his usually unflappable demeanor. The woman’s cryptic comments spark Paloma’s curiosity about her father’s past, of which she knows little.
When the family travels to Buenos Aires for Santiago’s UN ambassadorial appointment, Paloma is determined to learn more about his life in the years leading up to the military dictatorship of 1976. With the help of a local university student, Franco Bonetti, an activist member of H.I.J.O.S.—a group whose members are the children of the desaparecidos, or the “disappeared,” men and women who were forcibly disappeared by the state during Argentina’s “Dirty War”—Paloma unleashes a chain of events that not only leads her to question her family and her identity, but also puts her life in danger.
In compelling fashion, On a Night of a Thousand Stars speaks to relationships, morality, and identity during a brutal period in Argentinian history, and the understanding—and redemption—people crave in the face of tragedy.
Rich, informative, and fascinating!
On a Night of a Thousand Stars is a vivid, moving tale set in Buenos Aires during the mid-1970s, as well as 1998, that takes you into the lives of the Larrea family whose individual actions, decisions, choices, secrets, and sacrifices made in order to survive and keep their loved ones safe from the random disappearances, kidnappings, torture, and murder experienced during Argentina’s political nightmare led by General Jorge Rafael Videla, known as the Dirty War will have lasting effects and irrevocably change their lives forever.
The prose is perceptive and descriptive. The characters are anguished, steadfast, and multilayered. And the plot using a past-present style unfolds effortlessly into a harrowing tale of life, loss, love, family, friendship, injustice, guilt, grief, secrets, self-identity, ancestry, kindness, war, bravery, and survival.
On a Night of a Thousand Stars is a hauntingly tragic, insightful, heart-wrenching debut by Clark that highlights the inconceivable horrors, suffering, and events endured during a heinous time in Argentina’s history and reminds us of humanities incredible ability to still be resilient and compassionate to others even when surrounded by barbaric cruelty.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to HBG Canada & Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.