Told with gripping intensity, It Would be Night in Caracas chronicles one woman’s desperate battle to survive amid the dangerous, sometimes deadly, turbulence of modern Venezuela and the lengths she must go to secure her future.
In Caracas, Venezuela, Adelaida Falcón stands over an open grave. Alone, she buries her mother—the only family she has ever known—and worries that when night falls thieves will rob the grave. Even the dead cannot find peace here.
Adelaida had a stable childhood in a prosperous Venezuela that accepted immigrants in search of a better life, where she lived with her single-mother in a humble apartment. But now? Every day she lines up for bread that will inevitably be sold out by the time she reaches the registers. Every night she tapes her windows to shut out the tear gas raining down on protesters. When looters masquerading as revolutionaries take over her apartment, Adelaida must make a series of gruesome choices in order to survive in a country disintegrating into anarchy, where citizens are increasingly pitted against each other. But just how far is she willing to go?
A bold new voice from Latin America, Karina Sainz Borgo’s touching, thrilling debut is an ode to the Venezuelan people and a chilling reminder of how quickly the world we know can crumble.
It Would be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo is a fast-paced, heartbreaking story about a woman’s struggle for survival in present-day Venezuela. Reading it felt like opening an unhealed wound and poking it with a stick. Honestly, what a ride.
I can tell the author left out the names of the Venezuelan political leaders, perhaps in an attempt to bring emphasis to the human experience rather than explaining what made Venezuela end up in its current political and social turmoil. However, I would’ve liked for the story to have more history and backstory details in terms of the Venezuelan crisis.
More than a novel, this reads more like a short story, which is perhaps why I feel I needed to know more about the characters in order to fall in love with them or simply to get to know them at a deeper level. Don’t get me wrong, I was obviously rooting for Adelaida, but I didn’t feel like I knew her at all. The details about her past and her presently horrifying situation could’ve been much more grueling, and instead, I was left wanting to know more.
My favorite character was Santiago. As I read his story and the trauma he was put through by the government, I couldn’t avoid thinking, knowing, that there are thousands of prisoners, just like him, suffering right now in Venezuela. Thinking about Santiago only grows my hurt for the Venezuelan people, and I’m glad Borgo wrote this story. Because although it is a work of fiction, the injustices she portrays through her novel are impossible to turn away from once you’ve read them.
I thought the plot itself was believable, especially considering the resilience of the human spirit when thrown into the claws of death. The writing was fast-paced, which helped with the development of the plot. Also, I believe the translator did a great job at translating the author’s voice and even her rhythmic prose.
I’m giving this book a 3.5 stars because I think it would’ve been more impactful if it was a short story. Also, the lack of backstory about the country placed Adelaida in a place and time that can be unknown to many readers.
My recommendations: Readers of short stories, fast-paced books, short books, world crisis, and women’s fiction will enjoy this one.
Trigger warnings: Sexual assault, grief, torture