American Visa

American Visa Armed with fake papers a handful of gold nuggets and a snazzy custom made suit an unemployed schoolteacher with a singular passion for detective fiction sets out from small town Bolivia on a desper

  • Title: American Visa
  • Author: Juan De Recacoechea Adrian Althoff
  • ISBN: 9781933354200
  • Page: 358
  • Format: Paperback
  • American Visa

    Armed with fake papers, a handful of gold nuggets, and a snazzy custom made suit, an unemployed schoolteacher with a singular passion for detective fiction sets out from small town Bolivia on a desperate quest for an American visa, his best hope for escaping his painful past and reuniting with his grown son in Miami.Mario Alvarez s dream of emigration takes a tragicomic twArmed with fake papers, a handful of gold nuggets, and a snazzy custom made suit, an unemployed schoolteacher with a singular passion for detective fiction sets out from small town Bolivia on a desperate quest for an American visa, his best hope for escaping his painful past and reuniting with his grown son in Miami.Mario Alvarez s dream of emigration takes a tragicomic twist on the rough streets of La Paz, Bolivia s seat of government Alvarez embarks on a series of Kafkaesque adventures, crossing paths with a colorful cast of hustlers, social outcasts, and crooked politicians and initiating a romance with a straight shooting prostitute named Blanca Spurred on by his detective fantasies and his own tribulations, he hatches a plan to rob a wealthy gold dealer, a decision that draws him into a web of high society corruption but also brings him closer than ever to obtaining his ticket to paradise.Juan de Recacoechea was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and worked as a journalist in Europe for almost twenty years After returning to his native country, he helped found Bolivia s first state run television network, served as its general manager, and dedicated himself to fiction writing Recacoechea is the author of seven novels American Visa is his first novel to be translated into English.

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      Published :2018-012-16T02:17:41+00:00

    One thought on “American Visa

    1. Elizabeth (Alaska)

      I think I did not remember this is noir, but it was obvious from the opening lines. The first 30 pages or so are very reminiscent of Raymond Chandler. At one point, our first person narrator, Mario Alvarez, ducks into a bookstore, and we see the author clearly acknowledge this influence.I lost myself amidst gigantic shelves holding hundreds of books, ranging from children’s stories to thick volumes on medicine, and a gamut of novels and short stories in between. I was never a fan of literature [...]

    2. Stephen

      Every female character is assessed according to her screwability, ironically by an unscrewable, pathetic narrator (alcoholic, unemployed, advanced in years, not very funny or interesting, prone to robbing bookstores, with a "French mustache" and a pair of shoes he's been wearing for almost twenty years) who--for no discernible reason--is well-liked by every man and woman he crosses paths with. He beds a beautiful, peasant prostitute with a heart of Andean gold and--being the self-professed stud [...]

    3. Pam Giarrizzo

      While reading Juan de Recacoechea’s American Visa, I was surprised by how familiar the author’s writing style felt. It didn’t seem as though I were reading a book from Latin America – it felt like I was reading something written by a U.S. writer. I finally realized that, even though the characters were Bolivian and the setting was in La Paz, the book was written in a style the protagonist and narrator, Mario Alvarez, greatly admires – that of a noir novel. When visiting a bookstore, he [...]

    4. Leslie Ann

      3.5 stars. Spent a snow day starting and finishing this read for my AtW challenge (Bolivia). I liked it. The prose is snappy and the secondary characters are memorable.

    5. Maud (reading the world challenge)

      [#102 Bolivia] This is a roman noir about a loser living in a creepy hotel surrounded by prostitutes in La Paz and trying to get a visa for the US. As we follow him, we learn more about La Paz in the 90's: the political setting and the social environment. The writing style is very easy to get into. Overall, it was an interesting and entertaining book if you're fond of this genre.

    6. Tali Spencer

      I am an American who married into a Bolivian family and lived for a while in La Paz, where I was immersed in the local language and culture. In fact, I was there during the time this book was written. So for me the story of Mario Alvarez rang incredibly true, though not always in positive ways. I think my familiarity with the country also helped me understand some of the nuances of region that played out in the story.The book's portrayal of life in La Paz at the time is brutal and accurate. The [...]

    7. Ian

      This novel has attracted a mass of marmite reviews - some love it, whilst others loathe it - and it's hard to disagree with any of them. It's just that sort of book. Described as a crime mystery, the crime element isn't that good and indeed the plot is a bit random in places but strangely that doesn't really detract much from its overall impact. It is just such a visual feast. As another reviewer has said, imagine a 1950's noir genre black and white film but set in the immensely seedy, colourful [...]

    8. Slymandra

      [Around the world challenge: Bolivia] This was a good roman noir about a loser guy renting a room in a creepy hotel in La Paz, as he tries to get a visa for the US. It was interesting to learn more about Bolivia in the 90's, and the story in itself was rather entertaining.

    9. Milan/zzz

      Since I live in the country whose citizens until recently needed visas to go in majority of countries (mostly the ones that, as Recacoechea called them “First World Countries”) I’m very familiar both with the value of having visa in your passport and all hell you have to survive to get one. Especially if you’re asking visa for the first time because once refused, you’re marked not only for getting visa for that specific country but for many others as well. So it was painfully familiar [...]

    10. Madhulika Liddle

      When a crime novel of 264 pages (of which the last five pages are devoted to an afterword) has its most interesting bit of action begin around page 190, it’s not going into my ‘must read again’ pile. To be honest, I’d never heard of (let alone read) Juan de Recachoechea before. But, having taken on a self-imposed challenge of trying to read as many books as I could from across the world, I was looking for authors from Bolivia who’d had their works translated into English, and chanced u [...]

    11. Olivermagnus

      We first meet Mario Alvarez when he exits a taxi downtown La Paz, Bolivia to search for somewhere cheap to stay while he applies for a US visa so he can visit his son, who is living and working in Florida. After several failed attempts to find anywhere with a vacancy, he discovers a cheap dive called the Hotel California. Hotel California itself provides a mix of characters all eager to advise the somewhat hopelessly naive Mario. He's inevitably very short of money, as is everyone. His two new f [...]

    12. Lora Grigorova

      American Visa: readwithstyle.wordpress/20The book, as the title foreshadows, follows the path of an average Bolivian man, who is desperately trying to get an American visa and thus visit his son in the States. Mario Alvarez is the definition of a loser – a retired and broke teacher, whose wife has left him years ago, a drunkard and a failure, utterly depressed and frankly utterly clueless. Following his dream to escape from the misery and poverty in his home country of Bolivia, Mario travels t [...]

    13. Mateo

      I have never read a book that made it so hard to decipher the motivations of any of the characters. I felt like I didn't know why anyone was doing what they were doing (and some of them were doin' sone STUFF, if you know), but maybe they didn't know why they were doing it either, and that was the point. Maybe most people in the developing world who know that a better life awaits them here in "America" are dimensionless characters in a novel that is waiting to be made into an action-packed movie [...]

    14. Scott

      Granted, I know next to nothing about Bolivian literature, but this book seems to be a strong candidate for the title of "The Great Bolivian Novel." Sometimes comic, sometimes dramatic, and often poignant, this is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Bolivia, US immigration policy, or Latin American literature. It was eye-opening in many ways.This book is definitely not for everyone (see the one-star reviews), however. It's dark, graphic, and disturbing, and the narrator/main charac [...]

    15. Calzean

      The power in this story is the depiction of Bolivia, where there is the super rich, the poor and the very poor. Alcoholism and sex are used to escape the harshness of life.Mario Alvarez arrives in La Paz to get a visa to the USA - a way out of his hapless life as a retired and broke teacher, whose wife has left him years ago, a drunkard, depressed and lacking street smarts. He is an interesting character as people seem to like and trust him, maybe because he has a hang-dog look. He has a depreci [...]

    16. Craig Sisterson

      This book was quite different to the crime/thriller novels I usually read, but I found myself hooked, and really enjoying it. It is reminiscent of that classic mid-20th century American noir, with its dishevelled hero, mean and gritty streets, and situations that unfold into all sorts of unplanned bad places and outcomes. Recacoechea's writing probably shines most in his evocation of La Paz, the highest capital city in the world - a bustling city full of change and history, and the sense of disc [...]

    17. Ellen

      It got good reviews and a book reward. Hmmm. I finished reading it, but wasn't impressed. I was curious about the ending so I finished it. The author sure gives a negative picture of Bolivia. It's too dark for my taste. There was lots of "name dropping" by the main character to show off his knowledge of American and British literature. But why? It seems like he did it to impress his readers more than the characters in the book.

    18. Jen

      Not my style of book (noir? The main character kept comparing his life to a Raymond Chandler novel) but did capture the desperation of trying to immigrate to America.

    19. Enrique

      Good Book. The true about the pursuit of the american Dream on a Country (Bolivia) hwere perhaps the pursuit it is not worthed and were finding your own treasures of your own personal circunstances in your own country may be a better choice

    20. Johnny

      Wonderful atmosphere with hints of the neo-realist movie, "The Bicycle Thief". While the story can be loose and frustrating at times, the detail and description of life in Bolivia kept me interested.

    21. Gregory

      The characters are sometimes really odd, and the story twists around, but the novel is entertaining and gives you a sense of why people want to emigrate and how they try to do so. It is unfortunate that there aren't more Bolivian novels in translation.

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