Chasing the Sun
Andres suspects his wife has left him—again. Then he learns that the unthinkable has happened: she’s been kidnapped. Too much time and too many secrets have come between Andres and Marabela, but now that she’s gone, he’ll do anything to get her back. Or will he?As Marabela slips farther away, Andres must decide whether they still have something worth fighting for, and exactly what he’ll give up to bring her home. And unfortunately, the decision isn’t entirely up to him, or up to the private mediator who moves into the family home to negotiate with the terrorists holding Marabela. Andres struggles to maintain the illusion of control while simultaneously scrambling to collect his wife’s ransom, tending to the needs of his two young children, and reconnecting with an old friend who may hold the key to his past and his wife’s future.Set in Lima, Peru, in a time of civil and political unrest, this evocative page-turner is a perfect marriage of domestic drama and suspense.

Chasing the Sun Details

TitleChasing the Sun
Author
FormatKindle Edition
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 1st, 2014
PublisherLake Union Publishing
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Thriller

Chasing the Sun Review

  • Zoeytron
    May 15, 2014
    I do not need to actively like the characters in a book. Indeed, I am typically happier to be able to grab onto a loathsome heavy to keep my interest in a story. Sorry to say, there was nary a person in this tale that sparked my interest one way or the other. Tepidity - that is shaky ground for me.The plot was okay, there was nothing egregious about the writing, but it felt for all the world that I was just going through the motions to read it. The phrase 'making up for lost time' is faulty. It I do not need to actively like the characters in a book. Indeed, I am typically happier to be able to grab onto a loathsome heavy to keep my interest in a story. Sorry to say, there was nary a person in this tale that sparked my interest one way or the other. Tepidity - that is shaky ground for me.The plot was okay, there was nothing egregious about the writing, but it felt for all the world that I was just going through the motions to read it. The phrase 'making up for lost time' is faulty. It can't be done. 'Lost time is gone forever', as the author aptly notes. I rather wish I had my time back on this one to spend on a different read. This was a Kindle first-reads offering.
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  • Melissa Crytzer Fry
    June 3, 2014
    When I met Natalia Sylvester on Twitter four years ago and first read her blog, my immediate thought was, “This is a writer to watch. Big things are in her future.” Her blog posts, from the start, were poetic and laced with beautiful metaphor. And they still are. (It’s not easy to silently weave metaphor into a piece and have the reader not even know she’s reading it until the very end).So it comes as no surprise that her debut novel, based in part on a kidnapping within her extended family, hel When I met Natalia Sylvester on Twitter four years ago and first read her blog, my immediate thought was, “This is a writer to watch. Big things are in her future.” Her blog posts, from the start, were poetic and laced with beautiful metaphor. And they still are. (It’s not easy to silently weave metaphor into a piece and have the reader not even know she’s reading it until the very end).So it comes as no surprise that her debut novel, based in part on a kidnapping within her extended family, held the same captivating metaphor. This time the metaphor about light and darkness: the comfort of it, the fear of it. What struck me most about this book was the author’s ability to paint a realistic portrait of PTSD. An example of the beautiful prose from the book: “She turns her back to the mirror and looks over her shoulder. If she hugs herself, she can see ribs protruding through her skin. She taps them like they’re the keys of a piano, her fingers stepping gently over the deep gaps between each bone. She has never felt so small, so shrunken into herself, while at the same time heavy with everything her body has held on to. It tells a story she never wants to hear again.”I never really considered what a person must go through *after* a kidnapping. How her sense of safety would change so dramatically, how the once-normal, everyday surroundings would become sinister, filled with fear. In the characters of Andres and Marabela, we see an imperfect marriage before the abduction. We see reality. We journey with them and ask: will their marriage make it? Can they find happiness again, even after the darkness?
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  • Dana
    February 28, 2014
    Chasing The Sun is the stunning debut novel from Natalia Sylvester that I just couldn't put down. It's books like these that really make me appreciate how lucky I am to be able to participate in the Firstreads program. Being given the chance to win an advance reader copy is always thrilling. For a broke student like me who always plays it safe when purchasing books, the giveaways give me the opportunity to go outside of my comfort zone when picking stories.The novel tells the story of a husband, Chasing The Sun is the stunning debut novel from Natalia Sylvester that I just couldn't put down. It's books like these that really make me appreciate how lucky I am to be able to participate in the Firstreads program. Being given the chance to win an advance reader copy is always thrilling. For a broke student like me who always plays it safe when purchasing books, the giveaways give me the opportunity to go outside of my comfort zone when picking stories.The novel tells the story of a husband, whose wife has been kidnapped and follows his desperate attempt to get her back. What adds to the story is that this husband and wife have a crumbling marriage and I was constantly wondering when he would decide that enough was enough. Was it worth it to give up everything he had to get her back, considering that she had already left him in the past? Do you still fight for someone who doesn't even want you?I was at the edge of my seat while reading this and ended up chewing my nails to the quick. The suspense was terrible! but I didn't want it to end. The plot was so well thought out and clever. The characters were very believable. I have never loved a book so much yet hated a main character so badly. I was raging to anyone who would listen, about my strong opinions on this book and to me, that is the mark of a good novel. One that you just can't stop thinking about, can't stop caring about.5/5
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  • Jolina Petersheim
    May 12, 2014
    "He is always thinking of the last words he said to her." I was captivated from this opening line in Natalia Sylvester's stunning literary debut, Chasing The Sun, and remained absorbed in the story of an estranged marriage pushed to the limits when a wife is kidnapped. Her husband must then choose to what extent he is willing to sacrifice in order to get her back . . . a woman who left him before. Clear prose, vivid characters, and keen psychological awareness--Chasing The Sun has all this and m "He is always thinking of the last words he said to her." I was captivated from this opening line in Natalia Sylvester's stunning literary debut, Chasing The Sun, and remained absorbed in the story of an estranged marriage pushed to the limits when a wife is kidnapped. Her husband must then choose to what extent he is willing to sacrifice in order to get her back . . . a woman who left him before. Clear prose, vivid characters, and keen psychological awareness--Chasing The Sun has all this and more. Looking forward to reading Sylvester's sophomore novel and whatever else she creates.
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  • Tessyohnka
    May 10, 2014
    This book leaves me a bit muddled. Marabela and Andres are together because they both deceived Elena. Andres and his children are estranged from his parents because Marabela deceived Rolando. Marabela is unhappy that photography is now just a hobby and not her livelihood because Andres deceived her. Elena and Marabela have both suffered at the hands of kidnappers though it seems Marabella was arbitrarily spared sexual assault. There's a hint of something between Marabela and Guillermo -- which i This book leaves me a bit muddled. Marabela and Andres are together because they both deceived Elena. Andres and his children are estranged from his parents because Marabela deceived Rolando. Marabela is unhappy that photography is now just a hobby and not her livelihood because Andres deceived her. Elena and Marabela have both suffered at the hands of kidnappers though it seems Marabella was arbitrarily spared sexual assault. There's a hint of something between Marabela and Guillermo -- which is strange because Marabella is angry at Andres for taking so long to free her from the kidnappers and Guillermo had everything to do with why the negotiation took as long as it did. Marabela seems as selfish at the end of the story as she did when she met Andres. Elena seems as young. Is she taking Andres back because she's so afraid of life and Andres is the only connection to her life before she was kidnapped? And does Andres really have any idea what he wants? The explanation that he had to lose Elena before he could long for her -- not buying it.
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  • Sam
    June 4, 2014
    DNFThe cover of this book hooked me, and its interesting blurb reeled me in.Then it lost me literally as soon as I started reading.Some reasons I am abandoning this book-Stiff, unnatural dialogue. (This is basically a dealbreaker for me on its own.)-Boredom from the get-go. (Weird start to a book when you should be hooking the reader, let me say.)-Overly descriptive about things like cans of vegetables. (I don't care. Please don't give me a detailed description of canned food, unless there's som DNFThe cover of this book hooked me, and its interesting blurb reeled me in.Then it lost me literally as soon as I started reading.Some reasons I am abandoning this book-Stiff, unnatural dialogue. (This is basically a dealbreaker for me on its own.)-Boredom from the get-go. (Weird start to a book when you should be hooking the reader, let me say.)-Overly descriptive about things like cans of vegetables. (I don't care. Please don't give me a detailed description of canned food, unless there's something special about it, like...it's glowing? Canned food shouldn't glow, I probably need to know that.)-I'm pretty sure I'm NEVER going to care about these characters at all, because I resent them for boring me to death. -One other reviewer said it perfectly. Reading this book feels like you're just "going through the motions." I just can't.I'm sure there are people who will love this book, but I'm not going to be one of them, and I have too many other books to read to invest several hours into this one only to come out feeling like this, but also angry because I wasted valuable reading time that's hard to come by in my house.
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  • Lorrie
    June 2, 2014
    Thank you to Goodreads for providing me the opportunity to receive this free book in their giveaway. I, in turn, read this novel and am providing an honest but simple review.The setting is Peru where police can be often unable to provide help with kidnappings, for whatever reasons. This story required the help of an intermediary, someone who could help with the demands of the kidnappers. I was very interested in this story and did find myself unable to put the book down for the last half.The hus Thank you to Goodreads for providing me the opportunity to receive this free book in their giveaway. I, in turn, read this novel and am providing an honest but simple review.The setting is Peru where police can be often unable to provide help with kidnappings, for whatever reasons. This story required the help of an intermediary, someone who could help with the demands of the kidnappers. I was very interested in this story and did find myself unable to put the book down for the last half.The husband, Andres, trying to come up with the money necessary to get his wife, Marabela, back from the kidnappers is forced to come to terms with himself. He must look at his job, his family (children, Cynthia and Ignacio), his relationship with his wife, his material possessions, and his best friend, Elena. I was unsure what happens to kidnap victims in 3rd world countries and found this telling mildly disturbing. The accounts are not what we see on tv for the most part. The author, Natalia Sylvester, came to the USA as a 4 year old. The story is partially based on personal, family stories. This is her first novel.
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  • Lisa Alber
    November 7, 2013
    This debut novel was a perfect balance between a page-turner and a wonderfully written literary novel. In fact, I'd call CHASING THE SUN a literary thriller!Natalia Sylvester paints a portrait of the Jimenez family in Peru that is so specific and so true that the story becomes universal. We can all connect to poor Andres, struggling to do the right thing; to his kidnapped wife, who has been unhappy for awhile; to his daughter, who doesn’t understand what’s going on but just wants her mom; to his This debut novel was a perfect balance between a page-turner and a wonderfully written literary novel. In fact, I'd call CHASING THE SUN a literary thriller!Natalia Sylvester paints a portrait of the Jimenez family in Peru that is so specific and so true that the story becomes universal. We can all connect to poor Andres, struggling to do the right thing; to his kidnapped wife, who has been unhappy for awhile; to his daughter, who doesn’t understand what’s going on but just wants her mom; to his angry son on the edge of manhood.The specifics about life in Peru lend this novel it’s uniqueness at the same time that it sets the story in a time and place that opens our eyes to what families just like ours live through in strife-ridden, third-world countries.I loved the interplay between the universal and the specific in CHASING THE SUN.
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  • Chaitali Sen
    June 29, 2014
    I started this book when I didn't have a lot of time to sink into it, and finally finished it today in a feverish marathon. This book is so full of quiet suspense and emotional heartbreak. It's about a troubled marriage at its most harrowing moment, during a three-week period when the wife of a businessman in Peru is kidnapped. To me this book is about letting go of sentimentality and facing hard truths about one's life - truths about the self, marriage, and society, and the courage it takes to I started this book when I didn't have a lot of time to sink into it, and finally finished it today in a feverish marathon. This book is so full of quiet suspense and emotional heartbreak. It's about a troubled marriage at its most harrowing moment, during a three-week period when the wife of a businessman in Peru is kidnapped. To me this book is about letting go of sentimentality and facing hard truths about one's life - truths about the self, marriage, and society, and the courage it takes to act on those truths. It isn't a comforting read, especially about this particular marriage, (in some strange ways it reminded me of Revolutionary Road), but it was immensely rewarding and beautifully written.
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  • Liz
    May 3, 2014
    I had absolutely no expectations with this book, so I was pleasantly surprised that I finished it in just a few days. I got it as a Kindle First book, a month or two ago , and decided to download it yesterday while I was in between books. It was a fast read and I found it fairly enjoyable. Imagine that your marriage is failing, and then your significant other is kidnapped and held for ransom by political extremists. What would you be willing to pay? How would you feel? Could things ever be the s I had absolutely no expectations with this book, so I was pleasantly surprised that I finished it in just a few days. I got it as a Kindle First book, a month or two ago , and decided to download it yesterday while I was in between books. It was a fast read and I found it fairly enjoyable. Imagine that your marriage is failing, and then your significant other is kidnapped and held for ransom by political extremists. What would you be willing to pay? How would you feel? Could things ever be the same afterward?I wasn't exactly connected to these characters, but I thought the author did a good job developing them. Overall, a quick read, but forgettable book.
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  • Ily Pastor
    July 25, 2013
    loved it, can't wait for it to come out and then a sequel.
  • Diane
    June 4, 2014
    Years ago I read Ann Patchett's haunting novel, Bel Canto, about a group of people kidnapped by terrorists at a party at the home of the vice-president in a South American country. I can vividly recall sitting on my porch mesmerized by the characters and the story.When I heard about Natalia Sylvester's debut novel, Chasing the Sun, which tells the story of an industrialist's wife's kidnapping in Peru, I was curious to read it. Sylvester lived in Lima, Peru and her novel is inspired by a family m Years ago I read Ann Patchett's haunting novel, Bel Canto, about a group of people kidnapped by terrorists at a party at the home of the vice-president in a South American country. I can vividly recall sitting on my porch mesmerized by the characters and the story.When I heard about Natalia Sylvester's debut novel, Chasing the Sun, which tells the story of an industrialist's wife's kidnapping in Peru, I was curious to read it. Sylvester lived in Lima, Peru and her novel is inspired by a family member who was kidnapped.In Peru, kidnappings are an almost common occurrence. Wealthy people live behind walls and gates, and many have security. Andres owns a label factory, and his family, wife Marabela, teenage son Ignacio and young daughter Cynthia live a good life. The children go to private school, and Marabela volunteers for many charities and is close to the women who cook and clean for them.Things between Marabela and Andres are not good. Four months ago Marabela disappeared, unhappy with her marriage. She returned because she couldn't leave her children. When Marabela doesn't return home after an errand, Andres fears she run away again.But this time Andres gets a call from a man; they have kidnapped Marabela and want one million dollars in ransom. Andres doesn't have that kind of money, and his wealthy mother sends over a man who helps people deal with kidnappers.As the story unfolds and Andres deals with the kidnappers and the facilitator, he tries to hide the situation from his children, his employees and their friends. He discovers that his childhood friend Elena is in a hospital after a suicide attempt following her own kidnapping. From her, he learns something shocking and saddening.Part two deals with the aftermath of the kidnapping. We don't have first hand knowledge of what happened to Marabela, we only get bits of the torment she suffered. Andres hopes that they can pick up the pieces of their life together and move forward, but Marabela isn't so sure she can or even if she wants to.I enjoy reading about places and cultures I don't have much knowledge of, and with Sylvester's growing up in Lima, we get an insider's view. I can't imagine living with the constant fear that you could be grabbed off the street.I also like reading about the Peruvian dishes, like tallarines verdes, a pesto-like sauce served with steak. It makes me want to read more about it, and maybe even make it for dinner.Chasing the Sun drops the reader into the lives of this upper middle class Peruvian family during a crisis. Although the kidnapping propels the story, this is a more personal story about a marriage unraveling. Andres loves Marabela and desperately wants to love the life they have build together, but things and people from their past come bubbling up to the surface and try to pull them apart. Fans of Bel Canto will find much to appreciate in this debut novel.
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  • Mary White
    January 3, 2014
    In Natalia Sylvester’s debut novel, Chasing the Sun, the curtain rises on a domestic drama involving Andres and Marabela, an upper-class Peruvian couple. Married for many years, they have grown apart and dispassionate. They sleep separately and spend most of their time in their own pursuits. Marabela shows little interest in Andres’s work at the company he built, preferring to shut herself away in the photography darkroom he has provided her—a symbol of how most of the light has gone out of thei In Natalia Sylvester’s debut novel, Chasing the Sun, the curtain rises on a domestic drama involving Andres and Marabela, an upper-class Peruvian couple. Married for many years, they have grown apart and dispassionate. They sleep separately and spend most of their time in their own pursuits. Marabela shows little interest in Andres’s work at the company he built, preferring to shut herself away in the photography darkroom he has provided her—a symbol of how most of the light has gone out of their marriage. Marabela has already left Andres once and although she returned on that occasion, he is left with an overarching fear of losing her again. This possibility is paramount on his mind one evening when she doesn’t return from an errand. Later, he receives a letter claiming she’s been kidnapped and realizes she hasn’t left of her own volition.Sylvester’s story is set in Peru of the 1990s where, unfortunately, kidnappings were common among the upper classes. The country’s political structure is in turmoil, with the frequent occurrence of widespread terrorist acts ranging from theft to abductions to bombings; a curfew is enforced and citizens live in a continual state of danger and unrest. This outer situation mirrors the inner instability of the marriage, in which Andres has come to feel imprisoned and powerless.I like the way Sylvester uses Marabela’s kidnapping as a grenade of sorts, the catalyst that forces waves of change. The first half of the book deals mostly with the inner life of Andres and how he goes about trying to resolve the kidnapping and recover his wife. It’s a nuanced portrayal of a man nearing middle age. Past alliances and hurts affect his current roles as husband and father; most of Andres’s recent energies have been spent on his career and now, his relationships suffer. Sylvester captures well the desperation of his situation, the helplessness of a powerful man grappling with a situation out of his control. As Andres tries to free his wife, he comes to some realizations about their marriage and grapples with the fall-out from a past, lost love and a long-term rift with his parents. Eventually, he’ll be forced to reevaluate every aspect of his life.The novel is many things at once. I appreciated the nuanced, patient pace of the opening sections, which really amplified what Andres was going through. The tone is one of foreboding and Sylvester keeps a taut level of suspense throughout. And there’s historical interest as well, as she delves into the political and cultural climate of Peru. Chasing the Sun illuminates a particular place in time and yet has at its center a universal story about love and relationships. The sum of all these parts: a completely compelling read.
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  • Terri Buchholz
    August 18, 2013
    I usually read only at night as a distraction to calm my thoughts, as a prelude to sleep. But Chasing the Sun was so intriguing, I had trouble putting it down and now that I've finished the book, I'll miss the anticipation of reading it each night. The plot is an interesting and well developed page turner set against the backdrop of politically turbulent times in Peru. But one of the most fascinating elements to me is how the author, Natalia Slyvester, shapes the dynamics between all the charac I usually read only at night as a distraction to calm my thoughts, as a prelude to sleep. But Chasing the Sun was so intriguing, I had trouble putting it down and now that I've finished the book, I'll miss the anticipation of reading it each night. The plot is an interesting and well developed page turner set against the backdrop of politically turbulent times in Peru. But one of the most fascinating elements to me is how the author, Natalia Slyvester, shapes the dynamics between all the characters. Especially, the exhausting, daily navigations of Andres as he struggles to save his kidnapped wife's life, then later to save his one-sided marriage while trying to shield his children from the threat of losing their mother, again. I've thought about this story throughout the day and I have more questions than resolutions. Even though the wife is clearly a victim and suffering PTSD, I wonder who loses the most and who was really saved? Her ordeal lasted three weeks but she cost her husband so much more than the ransom. Long before her kidnapping she created a chasm between Andres and his parents, his best friend and perhaps more suitable partner, his friends, and his own security in their marriage as she pulls further away, even leaving him and the children for awhile. After she is released, after he has traded all their wealth, property, and his business for her freedom, she continues to fault him for taking so long, test his loyalty, challenge his parenting, criticize his efforts to ensure the family's safety, and ultimately kicks him out. But in doing so, perhaps she forces him to let go of a dead marriage and frees him to still find happiness and peace. I will definitely recommend this book to my friends and look forward to the next one by Natalia Slyvester.
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  • Ptreick
    April 9, 2014
    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.3.5 stars. Although I admired many things about this book, including the intriguing setting and the author's development of the main characters at the beginning of the book, I ultimately felt that the story could have been stronger. The switch in narrative POV in the second half of the book was distracting for me, because it didn't seem to fully allow me into the characters' heads. It was hard for me to be fully s I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.3.5 stars. Although I admired many things about this book, including the intriguing setting and the author's development of the main characters at the beginning of the book, I ultimately felt that the story could have been stronger. The switch in narrative POV in the second half of the book was distracting for me, because it didn't seem to fully allow me into the characters' heads. It was hard for me to be fully sympathetic to Marabela without getting closer inside to her thoughts on her ordeal. And ultimately, it bothered me that Marabela didn't understand the sacrifice that Andres had made, and that in the end, Lorena was the one who seemed to truly win. She was able to keep Andres under her thumb, and Andres willingly agreed to it. After all the development in the book up to this point, I would have expected to see the characters fully grow or change in some significant way--and in the end, I'm not sure that happened.
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  • Diana
    May 11, 2014
    This is a very interesting book to read, but I enjoyed it. I think there is something real and natural about the misery in this book; the realization that you might have made the wrong choice and married the wrong person... but you still want to try. I found myself rooting for Andres, which was strange for me, because I normally always root for the wife. Marabella is such an unlikable character though, and she never changes throughout the book. I think there is a lot of unfinished business in th This is a very interesting book to read, but I enjoyed it. I think there is something real and natural about the misery in this book; the realization that you might have made the wrong choice and married the wrong person... but you still want to try. I found myself rooting for Andres, which was strange for me, because I normally always root for the wife. Marabella is such an unlikable character though, and she never changes throughout the book. I think there is a lot of unfinished business in the book, and I would definitely read a sequel.
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  • Pam
    May 18, 2014
    Chasing the Sun by Natalia Sylvester held my interest from beginning to end. It is the story of a marriage. A marriage that was already in trouble, but becomes even more stressed when the wife Marabela is kidnapped. Andres must do what he can to get her back. He hires a professional mediator to help him in getting his wife back home. While, he is struggling to do what he needs to do, he has time to reflect on his life, his children, and his marriage. Well written, with just the right amount of s Chasing the Sun by Natalia Sylvester held my interest from beginning to end. It is the story of a marriage. A marriage that was already in trouble, but becomes even more stressed when the wife Marabela is kidnapped. Andres must do what he can to get her back. He hires a professional mediator to help him in getting his wife back home. While, he is struggling to do what he needs to do, he has time to reflect on his life, his children, and his marriage. Well written, with just the right amount of suspense, and well-thought out characters.
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  • Susan
    January 10, 2015
    Got this free from Amazon Prime. My goal this year is to read the books I already have in my house. I have several on my iPad and a bunch on my shelf. Andres and Marabela are unhappily married. Then she is kidnapped. The first half of the book focuses on Andres attempt to get her back. The second half focuses on the aftermath. I was never completely engaged. The book was well written. I was just not captivated.
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  • Wendy
    May 17, 2014
    The plot sounded intriguing..a Peruvian wife of a prominent businessman is kidnapped for ransom; apparently a common occurrence in Lima. But there were all these subplots, and the story got muddied...I finished it because I wanted to see how it all worked out. A little better character development and some tightening of the story lines would have really made this book a page turner. Instead it kind of limped along.
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  • Peter L. Boynton
    August 21, 2014
    A GemA GemA deep probe of love, marriage, guilt, loss, friendship and terror, set in the tumultuous 80's of Lima, Peru, when the Sendero Luminoso was at it's peak.
  • Ashley Godsy
    May 16, 2014
    Hard to put down!
  • Julie
    May 1, 2014
    Very good book. Well written.
  • Bill Wolfe
    May 16, 2014
    Andres appears to have it all. He owns a successful printing company, lives in a beautiful house in a wealthy neighborhood, and is married to Marabela, a beautiful and strong-willed woman who works as a freelance photojournalist and is a devoted mother to their two children.But appearances can deceive. All is not well in the Lima, Peru home of the Jimenez family. Marabela recently left Andres, only to return after four days for the sake of their children, Ignacio and Cynthia. Andres still loves Andres appears to have it all. He owns a successful printing company, lives in a beautiful house in a wealthy neighborhood, and is married to Marabela, a beautiful and strong-willed woman who works as a freelance photojournalist and is a devoted mother to their two children.But appearances can deceive. All is not well in the Lima, Peru home of the Jimenez family. Marabela recently left Andres, only to return after four days for the sake of their children, Ignacio and Cynthia. Andres still loves Marabela and tries to save their marriage, but she is uncooperative. She has grown tired of Andres’s workaholic lifestyle and resents having to give up most of her photojournalism work. They talk past each other; Andres is too eager to please, which Marabela interprets as weakness. She is often callous and self-absorbed. The tension is palpable.This already difficult situation falls away instantly when Marabela is kidnapped and held for ransom by men who may be associated with Shining Path, a communist insurgent group that terrorized Peru in the 1980s and early 1990s. Andres is distraught but, with the help of Guillermo, a retired police officer-turned-negotiator, he begins to work toward Marabela’s release.Andres and Guillermo work from Marabela’s darkroom, which they have converted into a custom-designed office wired to record calls and maintain records of all communications and activities regarding the kidnapping. With the hours of waiting stretching out before him, Andres has time to explore their failed marriage and home life. Through a series of flashbacks we learn how he and Marabela met and how his decision to marry her affected Andres’s lifelong friendship with Elena, the daughter of his father’s business partner. Their romantic history is full of complexities that have reverberated down through the years.How far will Andres go to obtain the return of a woman he loves but believes may well leave him again? What does he owe her? What will be enough to free her and also convince her to stay and rebuild their marriage? Can he obtain her release without giving up everything they’ve achieved? Does he possess enough to satisfy these hardened and very professional kidnappers?Andres also has his hands full caring for the children, whom he is trying to protect from the truth about Marabela’s sudden absence. Ignacio, who is in high school, suspects all is not as it seems and wants to know the truth — and to help his father. Andres is also trying to keep the kidnapping from colleagues, friends, and family, including his very shrewd mother, Lorena, from whom he has been estranged since he married Marabela.After many years apart, Andres reestablishes contact with Elena. He has learned that she may have special knowledge and insight that could help him through his difficult situation. Can she help save Marabela and thus Andres?Sylvester turns what could have been a soap opera into a suspenseful and literary novel through a tightly controlled narrative that provides a detailed view into the main characters’ hearts and minds. She has tamped down the melodrama in favor of a more subtle emotional intensity that builds as the story progresses. The nature of the plot alone provides plenty of conflict and page-turning suspense; Sylvester had the good sense and discipline to opt for a thoughtful, probing approach that will remind some readers of Ann Patchett and Graham Greene, with the elegant prose to match.Chasing the Sun is a summer novel for readers who want something to think deeply about as their hearts pound and they turn the pages, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.See more of my reviews at my blog, www.readherlikeanopenbook.com.
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  • Kac31284
    July 15, 2014
    There was a scene in the center of Natalia Sylvester’s debut novel, Chasing the Sun, which so completely transported me into the story that I didn’t even care that I was sitting in a very crowded Starbucks sniffling with tears in my eyes. The scene involves Andres Jimenez, the novel’s protagonist, having to tell his families’ maids, Consuelo and Carla, that he can no longer afford their services. This moment comes on the heels of series of heartbreaks for Andres and it feels like the last little There was a scene in the center of Natalia Sylvester’s debut novel, Chasing the Sun, which so completely transported me into the story that I didn’t even care that I was sitting in a very crowded Starbucks sniffling with tears in my eyes. The scene involves Andres Jimenez, the novel’s protagonist, having to tell his families’ maids, Consuelo and Carla, that he can no longer afford their services. This moment comes on the heels of series of heartbreaks for Andres and it feels like the last little shred of who he is as a man being stripped from him. It is in moments like this that Natalia’s skill truly shines. She is a master of opening a moment and allowing it to breathe as she develops the true depth of beauty and power contained inside even the smallest, simplest gestures. She understands that each human life is constructed of a thousand tiny experiences. So often a piece of buttered toast dipped in cup of coffee, a pair of earrings, a roll of film, a list of names, or a wooden plate have every bit as much of an impact as a fist to the face.One of the most painful, tragic effects of traumatic events is that they steal these moments from us. Some events throw life so off kilter, that there is no normal anymore and we have to work just to reclaim some feeling of equilibrium. Through the character of Elena, Sylvester does a wonderful job of allowing the reader to see that the pain doesn’t just go away after the survivor returns home. This book does a beautiful job of showing that what is so often viewed as the end of the story, is truly just the beginning for survivors. I thought that Elena was one of the strongest characters in the novel and so appreciated the way that Natalia showed that she was so much more that the trauma she had endured.I also really appreciated the character of Marabela. She is extremely complex and Sylvester resists every temptation to sanitize her or make her “nice.” I get so exhausted of every female protagonist having to be nice or even likable. Real people are so much more complicated than that and Sylvester demonstrates a very mature understanding of that and does not vilify Marabela’s yearning for freedom. This is a character that feels most comfortable behind the lens of a camera and draws power from her silences. The back story about Marabela’s relationship with Andres’s family was one of my favorite parts of the novel and really made me empathize with her.Consuelo is comparatively a minor character, but I admired her strength and grace and the way she quietly held the family together even when they were on the verge of falling apart. I also really appreciated Sylvester’s characterization of both Ignacio and Cynthia, many authors struggle to give children believable voices, but I thought they both felt very real. Each of their struggles to make sense of their mother’s absence was heartbreaking in very different ways.I would like to thank the author for telling a beautiful story and transporting me to another time or place. Before reading this book I knew next to nothing about the civil and political unrest that plagued Peru during the 1990s. Chasing the Sun allowed me a glimpse of the struggle and strength of the families that have suffered through the agony of having a loved one taken from them.
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  • Jim
    August 10, 2014
    It is 1992 in Lima,Peru. Marabela and Andres have two children (Cynthia 8, and Ignacio 16)and a troubled marriage that has led to one previous departure by Marabela. When she doesn't return home one evening, he suspects she has left again, only to soon find out that she has been kidnapped for ransom. This begins a tale of introspection,doubt and hope. The events that unfold break minds apart only to help them begin a process of rebuilding. It's a story of love, loss and missed opportunities.The It is 1992 in Lima,Peru. Marabela and Andres have two children (Cynthia 8, and Ignacio 16)and a troubled marriage that has led to one previous departure by Marabela. When she doesn't return home one evening, he suspects she has left again, only to soon find out that she has been kidnapped for ransom. This begins a tale of introspection,doubt and hope. The events that unfold break minds apart only to help them begin a process of rebuilding. It's a story of love, loss and missed opportunities.The core story here is interesting and engaging although at times it is slow to unfold as we spend a little too much time in the depths of the character's troubled minds (mostly Andres'). I have to say that the truly most disappointing part of the book is the last 25% or so where it turns into romantic melodrama and lacks the grit that marked earlier parts of the book.
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  • Josie
    May 16, 2016
    An intimate portrait of a Peruvian businessman whose wife is kidnapped ...but unfortunately it just didn't engage me. This was one of those books that you think "Oooh Peru" and "kidnapped wife" and can only assume it'll be a good plot twisting book with an atmospheric backdrop...it didn't quite go like that.I found the story line cold and at times really quite dull, and there was hardly any pull into the supposed location this all took place in.Disappointing read.
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  • Jp Robert
    October 4, 2016
    Loved it!! Evening with the authors in Lockhart TX 2016- glad we met you and Eric!!!Loved it!!! Loved it!!! Loved it!!! Loved it!!! Loved it!!! Loved it!!! Loved it!!! Loved it!!! Loved it!!! Loved it!!!I am ready for the next book.
  • Katie Bradley
    June 10, 2014
    I liked it. Thought it was be a good book club book.
  • Becky
    May 14, 2014
    Meh.
  • Eric Sylvester
    October 17, 2015
    I'm bias so I'll recuse myself.
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