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August 7, 2021

American Delirium by Betina González ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I picked up American Delirium by Betina González for a few reasons. I've been trying to read more translated fiction and this is my first book by an Argentinean author (I think it might be my first by a South American author). I didn't know really what to expect, but from the description, I knew it might be a little outside my usual reads.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

American Delirium
February 2021; Henry Holt & Co.; 978-1250621283
audio, ebook, print (224 pages); translated fiction

I think nothing of reading a book written by a U.S. author set in another country. While I haven't read a ton of translated fiction, it seems most are set in the author's home country or region. American Delirium is set in a midwestern town in the United States. I was curious how an international author would portray Americans.

The book's description mentioned out-of-control deer. These deer aren't just destroying plants and such. No, they are actively attacking people. People are scared and some take drastic steps - there's a brief but detailed scene of a fawn being bludgeoned to death. But I don't think these deer are actually the point of the story.

There is a small cast of characters whose stories eventually tie together. But in the beginning, these characters seem completely separate from one another. This not knowing how the characters fit together had me confused. I think it is partly because of how the story was structured. Instead of each character getting a chapter, we get little bits of each character's story in each chapter. However, there were no real transitions (there's a little flourish to denote the changing of characters). I did not enjoy the often abrupt change - the story felt quite disjointed. It got marginally better when the stories started to come together and it was revealed how they knew each other.

Why the deer are acting the way they do is revealed and is part of what connects the characters. However, I didn't find the explanation or even the backstory to be that interesting. I didn't really get the point of the book. I did find some of the character's stories interesting and they could have easily been short stories in themselves. 

It has received a lot of great reviews from places like Publisher's Weekly and Booklist, so I really think it was just not my type of book. 

Buy American Delirium at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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