Friday, December 4, 2009

UNFINISHED FRIDAY: The Invisible Mountain, by Carolina de Robertis


The Invisible Mountain, by Carolina de Robertis. Published 2009 by
Random House. Hardcover.

Click here to buy The Invisible Mountain via IndieBound.org. I'm an IndieBound affiliate and receive a percentage of the sales price.

I won an advance reader's copy of The Invisible Mountain in a Random House promotion and I was pretty interested in reading it, especially after hearing great things about it on the Books on the Nightstand podcast, of which I am an avid listener (and you should be, too!).

It's an intergenerational story of three women- mother, daughter and granddaughter- in an Uruguayan family, starting with Pajarita, an herbal healer who marries a charismatic Italian, and continuing through her headstrong troubled daughter Eva and Eva's daughter Salome.

Overall it struck me as a rather mediocre book that felt like it was written quickly and driven by over-familiar tropes- the put-upon wife who finds liberation through a community of women, the drunken husband, the abused young woman and the magical healer. And how many books have we read this year about herbalists? The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, Sacred Hearts, The Year of the Flood. And these are all really good books- superior to The Invisible Mountain, to be sure. Maybe if I hadn't read it right next to these, better, books, it wouldn't have bothered me so much.

I put the book down about halfway through, partly because I lost my copy and partly because I was bored and didn't feel like looking for it. It's not a bad book as these things go; it's interesting enough and competently written, and it will appeal to many readers. In fact, as I was reading, it struck me as one of those books almost tailor-made to be marketed to book clubs and readers for whom buzzwords like "intergenerational" and "exotic setting" and "story of women" both resonate and motivate. And that's me, to a certain extent. But the magic didn't quite happen for me this time.

Like the idea behind Unfinished Friday? Want to do your own and link back here, so we can all read each others'? Starting next Friday let's give it a go!


FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.

13 comments:

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

That's too bad. I guess it wandered away for a reason.

Ann Kingman said...

Hi Marie,

Thanks for the Books on the Nightstand shoutout!

Sorry you didn't love Invisible Mountain. As you know, I did like it -- I especially liked learning about the history of Uruguay, a place that was completely unfamiliar to me. I think you are absolutely right about the book club potential of this book when it's published in paperback; there's much to discuss, has an interesting setting about which some background research can add to the conversation, and it's an accessible read.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I'd love the chance to take a gander at it!

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the idea of Unfinished Friday! I just put aside a DNF yesterday, and was wondering what to do with it! Is this a meme we all can use and link back to you?

Alayne said...

I think it's funny that you lost it and didn't like it enough to go looking for it. :) Nice review.
Alayne
The Crowded Leaf

nomadreader said...

This book is on my Christmas list, but now I'm trying to remember which review was good enough to make me add it.

I, too, love Unfinished Friday; it's a great feature!

silverfysh said...

I love this idea. There're so many books I either couldn't finish, or just abandoned entirely. I might borrow this, haha. [My TBR is growling at me right now.]

Sasha
Sasha & The Silverfish

bermudaonion said...

If it didn't hold your interest, I doubt it would hold mine.

Lenore said...

I wish there were more books that I would put down so I could do Unfinished Friday. I just feel compelled to finish most books I start unfortunately...

dolcebellezza said...

You gift arrived today, and it made me so happy. I posted about it on my blog. Thank you for being a wonderful Persephone Secret Santa! It's nice to meet you.

caite said...

I loved The Year of the Flood...and I think that one herbalist may be enough for me this year.

Jenny Girl said...

Too bad but at least you gave it a good try. I have an unfinished book and review from June. June! I can certainly post that next Friday. I'll write myself a note.

Zibilee said...

It doesn't sound like this would be the book for me. I hate it when a book gives up it's chance to be an original and ends up following the rest of the crowd. Sorry it didn't work out for you.