The Tree of Red Stars

The Tree of Red Stars

Book - 1997
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-- Romance, coming-of-age, and political intrigue blend to create an evocative description of Uruguay's transition from democracy to a CIA-backed military dictatorship

"He was a prisoner because of me, and I could not rest until he was free". -- from the book

Magda's childhood in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, in the 1960s is one of small pleasures: sitting beneath the poinsettia tree in her yard, meeting her friends by the banks of the Rio de Plata River, and learning the rules that her culture ordained for young women of privilege. But as Magda grows up, her comfortable world becomes menacing in ways that she had never imagined. As her government increasingly turns on its own people in both subtle and overt acts of terror, Magda's family and friends increasingly come under threat.

Sent to the U.S. for a year of school, Magda realizes how her own passivity has contributed to the fear that now grips her country. When she learns, upon her return, that several of her closest friends have been arrested and imprisoned, Magda finds the courage to join the underground struggle against the government -- a decision that draws her, her friends, and eventually the man she loves into unexpected peril.

Full of rich detail, moving characterizations, and political intrigue, The Tree of Red Stars is both a tender story of love and friendship and a terrifyingly personal look at a country -- and a way of life -- under siege. Tessa Bridal's debut novel provides readers with a vivid, unforgettable journey through a time and a world that is closer than we realize.

Publisher: Minneapolis : Milkweed Editions, 1997.
ISBN: 9781571310132
Characteristics: 287 p. ;,22 cm.


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Apr 25, 2013

Magda grows up in a privileged home in Montevideo, Uruguay. The first part of the novel takes us through her childhood life taking for granted the world she lives in. As the story progresses we learn more aboiut the larger picture - the politics of the nation and Latin America in general - until finally we are absorbed by it. An interesting window into a country we know little about. The writing flows well and makes for an easy read. Would be good for a discussion group, or for a class on Latin American history.

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