Apr. 24, 2014

Book Review

Four Stars: In 1982, at age 25, Candelária Arevelo (“Candyman”), a pureblooded Mayan Indian, returns to Guatemala after twelve years in the States. He is working on a Ph.D. in botany and intends to do research for his thesis. But Candyman can’t study. He is enraged by the atrocities being inflicted on Indigenous communities and his extended family, atrocities that have yet to be reported even in the Guatemalan media. Instead of cataloging tropical plants, he joins the insurgents against the government. In his tragic venture into violence, Candyman is influenced by two priests, an FBI agent and those who hide him from the army. Although the story revolves around the worst of the civil war in 1982-1983, it is more about Candyman’s transformation than the war itself.

The story is narrated by friends of Candyman in a mountain village in Costa Rica where he did research before returning to Guatemala, and where he will escape to. These friends have a story of their own, a subplot that at times distracts from the main story. But overall, this is a good tale.