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Synopsis

A sweeping, kaleidoscopic, and passionate novel that presents a stunning series of flashes — scenes, moods, dreams, and weather— as the narrator wanders through Lima.

Published in 1928 to great acclaim when its author was just twenty years old, The Cardboard House is sweeping, kaleidoscopic, and passionate. The novel presents a stunning series of flashes — scenes, moods, dreams, and weather— as the narrator wanders through Barranco (then an exclusive seaside resort outside Lima). In one beautiful, radical passage after another, he skips from reveries of first loves, South Pole explorations, and ocean tides, to precise and unashamed notations of class and of race: an Indian woman “with her hard,shiny, damp head of hair—a mud carving,” to a gringo gobbling “synthetic milk,canned meat, hard liquor.”

Adán’s own aristocratic family was in financial freefall at the time, and, as the translator notes, The Cardboard House is as “subversive now as when it was written: Adán’s uncompromising poetic vision and the trueness and poetry of his voice constitute a heroic act against cultural colonialism.”

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