The Revolutionaries Try Again by Mauro Javier Cárdenas

Set in Ecuador, The Revolutionaries Try Again is a story about idealists who hatch up a plan to run for office—against the current regime and against the previous dictator. Although the premise is intriguing, I knew early on that this was not my cup of tea. I was a little disappointed in myself. I wanted to love the book. …But I could not stand the long sentences and the internal monologues and the jibber jabber of intellectuals. It was too confusing to read, and I was not in the right headspace (and I don’t think I ever will be) to read blocks of text—of a single sentence that went past ten pages. All of the flashbacks in the same sentence as current day were too much. I did not care for any of them, and this made me sad.

But what made me happy was the coexistence of English and Español in the writing. This was not an English book with Spanish dialogue. The words flowed smoothly from English to Español to English again with no italics—because bilingual people do not think nor speak in italics!!! There is no extra accent when bilingual people switch between languages. In fact, I found the blend realistic because, based on personal experience, a bilingual person’s train of thought flows smoothly using either language. And bilingual people can also think and speak uninterrupted in a single language—I’m talking about you, those two chapters written entirely in Español!!!

Unfortunately, Español is not one of the languages I know. I glossed past many words, sentences, and pages, but I did enjoy hearing the words in my head—even if I could not comprehend them. I really wish I could love this book, but it was simply not written for me. I hope to find a similar book (with less internal monologues and shifting thoughts and dialogues) that I can fully appreciate. For now, kudos to Mauro Javier Cárdenas for writing a book that so accurately depicted (or seemed to—because I don’t live in Ecuador, so I can’t be so sure) growing up an idealist in a place where people have been set with their ways.

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