A review by abbie_
Cantoras, by Carolina De Robertis

challenging emotional hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


I always find it difficult to write reviews for books I love the most! It's impossible to form coherent sentences for a book that lodged itself right in your very soul. I had a feeling I'd love this one but for some reason put off buying it - until @allegedlymari's post likening it to a glass of the finest wine. I don't like wine, but if this book WERE wine, I'd never drink anything else.
.
Cantoras is set in Uruguay in 1977 under the military government and spanning decades. When I finished it I could barely believe it had only been 312 pages. De Robertis' prose is so rich and the characters undergo so much development that I felt like I'd read a 700 page novel about them - except I devoured it in 2 days. I tried to savour it, I really did, but these women had me in their grip and would not let go.
.
Romina, Flaca, La Venus, Malena and Paz are five of the most exquisite characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Five queer women trying to live their lives under a dictatorship that would punish them for who they are if they were ever found out. Together they carve out a tiny oasis at the coast, in a ramshackle beach hut where they can truly be themselves, as friends, lovers and family. I could have read an entire book of De Robertis just describing the scenery at Cabo Polonio in all of its wild, aching beauty.
.
There's a quote on the back from Jacqueline Woodson saying she was 'lifted, then gently set down again - either through tears, rage or laughter', which is just 1000% accurate. De Robertis takes us on such an intense journey of emotions, ranging from sorrow to anger and frustration to pure joy and happiness. I'm rarely moved to tears by a book but Cantoras got me twice. And one of those times were tears of JOY, okay. Yes, I've been made to cry by a sad book a few times, but few books have made me weep literal tears because I was so happy for a character.
.
I've also never read a book set in Uruguay, so I learned a lot too! Read this book to fall completely in love with the characters, but learn a little history too! This book is one of my 2020 favourites - please read it!