American Visa: A Novel

Front Cover
Akashic Books, 2007 - Fiction - 260 pages
2 Reviews
""American Visa" is beautifully written, atmospheric, and stylish in the manner of Chandler . . . a smart, exotic crime fiction offering."--George Pelecanos, author of "The Night Gardener"
""American Visa" is a stunning literary achievement. It is insightful and poignant, a book every thoughtful American should read, and once read, read again."--William Heffernan, Edgar Award-winning author of "The Corsican"
"In his search for an American visa, the high school teacher in this novel embodies the dreams and aspirations of many would-be immigrants south of the border. This is a thriller with a social conscience, a contemporary noir with lots of humor and flair. The streets of La Paz have never looked so alive. This is one of the best Latin American novels of the last fifteen years." --Edmundo Paz-Soldan, author of "Turing's Delirium"
"Mario Alvarez is tremendous, an everyman desperate to escape Bolivia's despair who can't elude his own tricks of self-sabotage. At a time when the debate around U.S. immigration reduces many people around the world to caricatures, this singular and provocative portrait of the issue will connect with readers of all political stripes." --Arthur Nersesian, author of "Suicide Casanova"
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 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Olivermagnus - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LBM007 - LibraryThing

I was an exchange student in Bolivia so part of the fun of this book for me was reading about Bolivian things. (Novels set in Bolivia are few and far between!) However, I think there's a lot to like about this story even for readers without a Bolivia connection. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
11
Section 2
24
Section 3
35
Section 4
62
Section 5
87
Section 6
103
Section 7
118
Section 8
141
Section 9
155
Section 10
184
Section 11
211
Section 12
226
Section 13
245
Section 14
257
Section 15
258
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

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 and dedicated himself to fiction writing. His novel American Visa won Bolivia's National Book Prize; was adapted into an award-winning film. Adrian Althoff is a freelance journalist and translator based in La Paz, Bolivia and Washington, D.C.

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