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The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos    by Margaret Mascarenhas order for
Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos
by Margaret Mascarenhas
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

What we know for sure after reading The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos is that author Mascarenhas has lots of stories to tell - and they are beautiful. The novel is set in Venezuela and revolves around two young women, Lily and Irene, but the book itself is divided into chapters that contain the stories of individuals surrounding Lily.

These stories are lush with atmosphere, whether we are looking at the life of the indigenous peoples or the machinations of the very rich and powerful. All are represented, and from this we get a very interesting view of life in Venezuela.

The problem I had with the book is with the plot. It just does not seem to hang together. Instead of a straight line, what we have are the circles of individual stories, which do intersect each other but not in a way that makes me understand fully what the author is trying to show.

Despite this reservation, I recommend the book for its lush descriptions and its command of the magical aspect of the people's beliefs, along with the author's ability to represent the turbulence of a revolutionary society and what that can mean to individuals.

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