Saturday, November 4, 2023

Book Review - On a Night of a Thousand Stars by Andrea Yaryura Clark



On a Night of a Thousand Stars by Andrea Yaryura Clark is about a young woman’s quest to find out the truth about her father’s past. In 1998 New York City, Santiago Larrea was a wealthy Argentinian diplomat and celebrated polo player. He was married to Lila, and they have one daughter, Paloma, who is a fashion student in NY and a budding jewelry designer.

Santiago and his family are well known for their love of throwing huge parties. The family was holding court at their latest party and everything seemed well until a guest showed up. The woman had an unflappable demeanor and made cryptic comments to Santiago. Paloma noticed that her father’s behavior had changed after the interaction, causing her to wonder who this guest was and what her relationship to her father was. Paloma realizes that she doesn't know much of her father’s past.

Shortly after the party, Paloma and her family travel to Buenos Aires for Santiago’s UN ambassadorial appointment. When they arrive, a cryptic and ominous note arrives for Santiago. Paloma is wary when he refuses to share what the message says with the family. Paloma is determined to find out what her father is hiding.

I thought the book was an interesting read. It was a bit slow moving at times. The book was told from alternating narrators. Paloma narrated the present as she was searching for the truth. And the other narrator was Santiago from the 1970s in his youth, describing his experience with the military dictatorship under Juan Peron. At times, it did get confusing when the narration switched back and forth as some of the characters were in both storylines, and the past had quite a few different characters. There were times that I wanted to read more about a specific timeline but it would switch perspectives. I did find the characters to be dull and bland though I was interested in Santiago’s narration. It was interesting to learn about Argentina’s past and political landscape. The book is a straightforward read but did have unexpected twists. If you like reading slow burn political historical fiction books, then you might enjoy it.

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