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The Neruda Case: A Novel Audiobook, by Roberto Ampuero Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Roberto Ampuero Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Cayetano Brulé Series Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9781452678924
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (202 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Roberto Ampuero's novels starring the wonderfully roguish Cayetano Brulé are an international sensation. In The Neruda Case, listeners are introduced to Cayetano as he takes on his first case as a private eye. Set against the fraught political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro's Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin, this mystery spans countries, cultures, and political ideas, and features one of literature's most beloved figures—Pablo Neruda.

Cayetano meets the poet at a party in Chile in the 1970s. The dying Neruda recruits Cayetano to help him solve the last great mystery of his life. As Cayetano fumbles around his first case, finding it hard to embrace the new inspector identity foisted upon him, he begins to learn more about Neruda's hidden agenda. Neruda sends him on a whirlwind expedition around the world, ending back in Chile, where Pinochet's coup plays out against the final revelations of their journey.

Evocative, romantic, and full of intrigue, Ampuero's novel is both a glimpse into the life of Pablo Neruda as death approaches and a political thriller that unfolds during the fiercely convulsive end of an era.

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Quotes & Awards

  • [Listen to] this one as much for the story as for the wonderful way Ampuero has with words. Publishers Weekly Starred Review
  • “The twists and turns of the quest through Mexico City, Havana, East Berlin, and La Paz deftly weave the personal and the political in a doleful exploration of the ways in which romantic and revolutionary ideals inevitably founder. Neruda himself…is unforgettably conjured.”

    New Yorker

  • “The summer’s most evocative fiction.”

    T, The New York Times Style Magazine

  • “Ampuero offers a provocative depiction of Neruda….Although The Neruda Case is a prequel for his international readers, here in the United States, it should be a prologue for more novels from this shrewd and serious-minded novelist.”

    Washington Post

  • “The book is often wryly funny, even in the face of tragedy…Let’s hope that more books in Ampuero’s Brulé series find an English-speaking audience.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “Ampuero, a University of Iowa professor, is highly regarded in South America, and US readers looking for good literary detective fiction might find themselves falling in love with Cayetano Brulé.”


  • “Mix ever-tightening suspense, South American history, the fictional treatment of a major world poet, revolutionary turmoil, and a reluctant sleuth and you’ve got a novel that is hard to put down and easy to remember…Ampuero’s prose, as rendered in the translation of Carolina de Robertis, is brilliant…To call his book a noir thriller does not begin to suggest the sophistication and richness of this gorgeously textured novel.” ­

    Washington Independent Review of Books

  • “A superb translation by Carolina de Robertis whips the first of Ampuero’s novels to be published in English into a pulsing, panting work.”

    Daily Beast

  • “A suspenseful, atmospheric mystery…The English-speaking world would be well-served by more translations of Ampuero’s work.”

    Shelf Awareness

  • “A moving fictional interpretation of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda’s final days … sings with poetic metaphor…Read this one as much for the story as for the wonderful way Ampuero has with words.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Robertson Dean’s superb narration brings the first English translation of the noted Chilean author’s body of work to listeners in the United States…The story deftly weaves the last days of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda’s life and of President Salvador Allende’s a rule in Chile in a masterful work of literary detective fiction…Dean easily navigates his narration through a variety of characters and accents, whether Cuban, Chilean, or German, and captures the pain in Cayetano’s heart as Allende’s rule crumbles and Neruda succumbs to cancer.”


Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn | 2/17/2014

    " A fascinating portrait of Chile at the coup, the private life of the poet, and a young man finding his vocation as a detective, this novel still succeeds as a mystery. The writing is spell-binding, the characters indelible, and the travels through the Communist world of 1973 a vivid history,--every page rewarding. _And_ it's a series launch!-- more Cayetano Brule to come, we can only hope! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jijo | 1/25/2014

    " I wasn't expecting much when I started this book. I even thought that I might return this book before I finish. But as I started reading this book, I could stop it. It is so beautifully written. The fact that this is a good detective novel is lost among the poetic story telling. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jaye | 1/17/2014

    " Made it to page 151 but could not finish it. Truthfully, I was bored with the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandy | 1/14/2014

    " Fascinating exploration of the poet Neruda as well as Chilean political history all told within an engaging detective story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 1/12/2014

    " Perfect mix of history, research, and personal experience spun together into a fascinating novel. My first look at Roberto Ampuero's writing, and now I need more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tina | 1/3/2014

    " The Neruda Case is an exceptionally engaging historically-inspired mystery; I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the first of Roberto Ampuero's books to be translated into English--either they need to translate more asap or I'm going to have to brush up on my high school Spanish... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarahi | 12/30/2013

    " I loved this detective story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 12/5/2013

    " Read the first two chapters. Beautiful language, but not so appealing to me that I have the urge to continue. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charity | 9/14/2013

    " Started off strong and then fizzled. Felt like a wild goose chase with no reward. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fernie | 5/17/2013

    " A delightful literary who-dun-it ... beautifully done. First one of Ampuero's novels to be translated into English. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 5/14/2013

    " Recently released in English translation. Good story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mireya | 3/3/2013

    " Gratamente disfrutable!! Me llevo a muchos sucesos de mi adolescencia, y me agrado! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ken | 8/20/2012

    " The backdrop (Chile at the time of the 1973 coup) and the setup (young detective hired by Pablo Neruda to find a lost love) are great, but the plot meanders at times. The last 50 pages or so were terrific, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathalie | 8/9/2012

    " Great novel, great characters, the history of Chile. Pablo Neruda, Salvatore Allende, Che Guevarra, etc Delightful "

About the Author

Roberto Ampuero is the internationally bestselling, award-winning author of several novels in Spanish, including Nuestros Años Verde Olivo and ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann? The Neruda Case is his first novel published in English. Born in Chile, Ampuero is a professor of creative writing at the University of Iowa and currently serves as Chile’s ambassador to Mexico. He lives in Mexico City and Iowa City.

About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.