August 23, 2007
Juan de Recacoechea's "American VISA"
A Bolivian struggle to make it to 'the land of opportunities. Mario Alvarez the chief protagonist takes the reader through the colorful and 'happening' streets of La Paz, the Bolivian capital, where Mario anxiously awaits his American visa that'll enable him to join his son in Miami.
I have lotus to thank for recommending this novel, a translation, which was a major bestseller in Bolivia, and one that has also been made into a movie. It took me a while to finish this one not because it lacked the lure but that I couldn't devote enough time to it as I was travelling outside of the country; Mario's ordeal became even more poignant as a result. Without meaning to sound conceited, I have to admit that international travel with a US passport works like a charm, and it's no wonder that Mario's quest for an "American visa' was a life determining one for him. The reader will have to read the novel to find out just how this quest defined Mario, or if it did at all.