Andean Express cover
Andean Express
by Mr. Adrian K. Althoff '04
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Juan de Recacoechea
Akashic Books; 2009; 250 pp.
Genre: Fiction
Category: History, Latin studies, Mystery/thriller, Travel
Additional Information - Library Catalog

Set in 1952, Andean Express is the story of a tragic overnight train journey that unfolds in an environment at once carnivalesque and sinister. Beginning near La Paz, Bolivia, the austere Andean plateau serves as a surreal backdrop for most of the trip before giving way to a winding descent to the Chilean coast. Ricardo Beintigoitia, a recent high school graduate from a prosperous La Paz family, unwittingly becomes ensnared in the personal drama of one of his peers, a captivating girl named Gulietta Carletti who has been forced into an arranged marriage with a man she despises.

On the Andean Express, everybody wants something and no one is exactly who he seems. Recacoechea's lean, elegant prose crackles with sharp dialogue and entertaining exchanges among a disparate cast of characters, each with his own ax to grind. The train is a microcosm of Bolivia itself, with people from all walks of life, from peasants to politicians, forming a circus of personalities and intrigue in which tragedy seems inevitable, and improbable liaisons become reality.

Andean Express  was the April 2010 Amherst Reads Feature Book of the Month.