Tuesday 17 August 2021

Book Review: Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia book cover

AD* | 1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbour, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman - and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance - and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets - at gunpoint.

Rich and immersive, Velvet Was the Night is a journey through the seedy underbelly of 1970s Mexico. Set against a backdrop of political unrest, espionage, and uncertainty, this is a captivating noir that will instantly suck you into the story.

The narrative alternates between two different characters - Maite and Elvis. Maite is a nondescript secretary with a deep loneliness and love for little other than her treasured comics and record collection. She feels misunderstood and ignored as life passes by. 

Elvis is an up-and-coming criminal with something to prove. Named after the King of Rock and Roll, he loves his music yet is sucked into a spiralling life of crime. Maite and Elvis are outwardly as different as it's possible to be, but internally, the two are kindred spirits. 

United by the search for missing student and activist Leonora, Maite and Elvis' lives fall into an unintentional rhythm - coexisting, yet never interacting. 

This is a riveting story with many subtle undertones and edgy currents. It's clever, understated, and mysterious in equal measure. It is a slow burner rather than a fast-paced ride, but the slower pace allows the opportunity to pause and just drink in the impressive prose. 

Beautifully written and atmospheric, Velvet Was the Night is a story about two lonely people searching for their place in a fractured world. 

Rating: 4 stars 

Velvet Was the Night is available to buy now. 

If you like the sound of this book, you might also enjoy...

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

No comments:

Post a Comment