PARADISE


OPINIONS AND BLURBS

- Annie Dillard, MODERN AMERICAN MEMOIRS, 1995, preface: "some of this century's finest works of fiction have strongly autobiographical elements," includes Tolstoy, Henry Roth, Proust, John Updike, Henry Miller, Somerset Maugham, Peter Taylor, Naipaul, Castedo.

- Ann Harleman, "Where fiction and poetry are kin, mighty magic is possible," The Boston Globe, 3/​22/​98, "quite a few of favorite contemporary fiction writers are also poets; many started that way. John Updike, David Malouf, John Dufresne, Elena Castedo, Grace Paley..."

- Moraima Semprun, "A Novel About Exile That is an Exile Itself," Linden Lane magazine, Princeton, 4-6/​90, "Almost all reviewers have termed Paradise’s prose 'elegant,' or 'finely tuned;' have mentioned the story's 'vividness,' 'candor' or 'directness,' its 'charm,' have hailed the humor, from irony to satire to the comical, and have used the words 'marvelous' or 'brilliant.' Most have described the ten year old narrator, as 'utterly convincing' and 'unforgettable.'"

- Bob Edwards, National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," "incredible the amount of things that [Paradise is] able to communicate; euphemisms, myths, religion, traditions, the feudal class system."
- Jerzy Kosinski, "If, as it seems, only through adult imaginative projection we gain access to ourselves as children we once were, then Solita, the young girl from Elena Castedo's Paradise, takes us there together with Miranda from The Tempest of Shakespeare, Agnes from Moliere's L'Ecole des Femmes, and Little Nell, from The Old Curiosity Shop of Dickens.

- Robert Stone, "elegant, droll and wise, an enormously pleasurable book. It brings the intensity and originality of the contemporary Latin American novel to the English speaking reader in wonderfully precise, finely tuned prose. Readers will find the scene and the characters unforgettable. It's absolutely the best novel I have read this year."

- Oscar Hijuelos, "Paradise is moving and entertaining, with vibrant prose and vivid scenes. It will move your heart."

- Paul West, "American novelists rarely attain Elena Castedo's fizzy, consecutive elegance; she writes with acrobatic gusto, roaring charm, and a superbly tutored sense of the absurd. Behind the keen-eyed prestidigitations of Solita, her precocious child narrator, there lurks a disciplined, educated mind drawing sustenance and acuity from several national traditions. This is the most ebullient first novel I've read in years... a maze of shapely, rippling paragraphs full of delight for the senses." Richard Bausch, "the verve and subtle music of it's prose... sense of character and place, her feeling for her fictional creations, [are] extraordinary and I very much admire her brave and stubborn fidelity to the truth. I will not soon forget the book's wonderfully observant and insightful speaker. Elena Castedo is brilliant... the real article-- a world traveler with a brave heart and brains."

- Susan Richards Shreve, "a marvelous, insightful and evocative book."

- Joyce Kornblatt, "one of modern fiction's most memorable child-narrators... vividly-rendered... by turns harrowing and comical... with a cast of brilliantly observed eccentrics... an adventurous writer, willing to shock, canny and inventive."

- Les Whitten, "In the sunlight of Paradise, we see a young girl's ancient wisdom in a totally new brilliance. It is a work of irresistible wit, sweetness, perception and beneath them all, power."

U.S. REVIEWS

- The Washington Post, the author accomplishes her goals "without rhetorical pyrotechnics," has "unobtrusive elegance," and "the voice is frank and sometimes funny." "deft at seeming to tell us just as much as the narrator would have known, while actually giving us ample information to form our own opinions."

- The Washington Times's title, "Paradise Found on Author's First Try." "to the roll of important or noteworthy youths of American literature add the protagonist of Elena Castedo's enchanting debut novel… the best of American and Latin American [literature] combined, a delightful and disarming novel in which aspects of each tradition infuse the other with new meaning and dimensions… pleases on so many levels, it is difficult to identify them all."

- The Atlantic Magazine, an "ingenious social satire... Ms Castedo has brought off, with acid wit, the far from easy task of revealing arrogance, folly, injustice and debauchery through the eyes of an observer who does not know what those qualities are."
- The New York Times Book Review illustrated half a page, page 8, "filled with rich descriptions and vivid scenes. [the] language is exuberant."
- The Christian Science Monitor: "a brilliant job... Solita is an utterly convincing character. Deftly avoids heavy-handed cuteness in favor of understated but powerful irony." "an intriguing portrait of... Latin American culture and society."
- The Boston Herald, "social satire at its zenith."

- The Arkansas Gazette: "deftly keeps the tale on track, peppering passages with humor and occasionally flat-out silliness to keep from turning pedantic and preachy."

- The Library Journal, "The novel is both startling and charming."

- The North Carolina News and The Raleigh Observer, "a novel that is thoughtful, moving and beautifully written."

- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "the novel's strength is in Castedo's ability to build credibly the thinking of a child, with all its incompletions, into a strong narrative."

Hispanic Magazine: [the] prose is "lavish, with its intricate and elegant sentences… works quite effectively as a chronicle."

- The Miami Herald and La Prensa, New York, "a success."

- The World and I, "With the eye and ear of a poet, the author conjures a powerful and rich animistic universe that resonates beyond the story."

- The San Juan Star's title, "Castedo Scores in Two Languages."

- Publisher's Weekly, "it may help account for the mainstream success of Elena Castedo."

- American Book Review, "a powerful representation of... political change in the Americas."

- Americas: "a brilliant novel in which the narrative voice never falters. Solita is a touching character… raises some complex issues about human nature in general and about Latin society in particular."

- The Sun-Gazette: "a jewel… explores themes of social commentary and alienation… utterly convincing… a rich feel of texture and emotion, a well as some biting social commentary, which works on many different levels."

- Las Americas: "amazing novel, from one of the most important new voices in contemporary literature is sharp, penetrating, lively, intense and rich… intricately complex structure… a historical and social vision; one discovers things one had never thought about before."

- Linden Lane Magazine, "within the principles of classic literature, [it] displays a series of unusual novelistic techniques."

- Potomac Almanac's title, "Paradise Soars."

- Fairfax Journal's title, "A Mesmerizing First Novel." "…a wondrous fist novel."

Selected Works

Novel
A refugee girl narrates the amours of the wealthy and the class system injustices in Latin America
Novela (in Spanish)
Una niña refugiada presencia los amores y las costumbres de los ricos, y las injusticias del sistema de clases en Latinoamérica.
Libro académico
Estudio crítico del "chilenismo" en la dramaturgia chilena de mediados del siglo XX.