In this moving, emotional narrative of love and resilience, a young couple confronts the start of Argentina's Dirty War in the 1970s, and a daughter searches for truth twenty years later.
New York, 1998. Santiago Larrea, a wealthy Argentine diplomat, is holding court alongside his wife, Lila, and their daughter, Paloma, a college student and budding jewelry designer, at their annual summer polo match and soiree. All seems perfect in the Larreas’ world—until an unexpected party guest from Santiago's university days shakes his usually unflappable demeanor. The woman's cryptic comments spark Paloma’s curiosity about her father’s past, of which she knows little.
When the family travels to Buenos Aires for Santiago's UN ambassadorial appointment, Paloma is determined to learn more about his life in the years leading up to the military dictatorship of 1976. With the help of a local university student, Franco Bonetti, an activist member of H.I.J.O.S.—a group whose members are the children of the desaparecidos, or the “disappeared,” men and women who were forcibly disappeared by the state during Argentina’s “Dirty War”—Paloma unleashes a chain of events that not only leads her to question her family and her identity, but also puts her life in danger.
In compelling fashion, On a Night of a Thousand Stars speaks to relationships, morality, and identity during a brutal period in Argentinian history, and the understanding—and redemption—people crave in the face of tragedy.
Includes a Reading Group Guide.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Part historical fiction, part family drama, this deeply felt novel transports us to the turbulent era of Argentina’s brutal Dirty War. Paloma Larrea, the daughter of an Argentine Wall Street investor, lives a charmed life in New York City, but a chance encounter with an old family friend sparks her curiosity about her family’s past. Visiting Buenos Aires, Paloma makes a life-changing discovery about her father’s role in the violence of the 1970s. Author Andrea Yaryura Clark does an amazing job immersing us in this troubled historical period. By flipping between the ’70s and the ’90s, Clark deepens her character development—and gives us a fascinating glimpse of the way daily life has changed in Buenos Aires throughout the decades. On a Night of a Thousand Stars is a tender look at the complex ties between family, politics, and history.
Yaryura Clark's stirring if uneven debut sheds light on the atrocities committed by the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance during the Dirty War, from 1974 1983. A drunken serenade in Argentina during the summer of '73 is enough to transcend class differences and ignite the spark between rich law student Santiago Larrea, who's keen to inherit his family's agriculture and estate business, and middle-class Valentina Quintero, who came to Buenos Aires to study architecture. Fast-forward to 1998, and Santiago is in New York City, soon to be appointed ambassador to the U.S.; he's married to another woman, and they have a daughter named Paloma. After Paloma meets a former colleague of Santiago's who shares details about Valentina, Paloma is moved to find out more about her father. With the help of an activist seeking justice for the family members of the desaparecidos, she delves into Argentina's and her family's tumultuous history. Santiago's vacillation between Lila and Valentina can sometimes overshadow the political intrigue, and the author devotes too much time to Santiago's messy love life. Paloma's determination to dig up her past and the haunting accounts of the victims of a cruel regime, though, will take readers by storm. Magnetic and revelatory, this one is imperfect if hard to put down. Agent: Johanna V. Castillo, Writers House.