Latam BookLook: "House of Beauty" by Melba Escobar

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This is a story that tells the coldness of the Colombian society, which is told through several female voices

Latam BookLook: "House of Beauty" by Melba Escobar

What is it about?

House of Beauty draws an argument line from which several branches are deployed and at the same time are connected to each other. The story follows the life of the beautician Karen Valdés, who arrives at the most important Beauty House in Bogota in search of improving her economic condition. There she meets one of her clients, Sabrina Guzmán, a schoolgirl who after attending an appointment appears dead.

Leer en español: Latam BookLook: "La Casa de la Belleza" de Melba Escobar

With that starting point, the story of Karen is woven, who also knows the psychoanalyst Claire Dalvard, one of the narrators of the story. Without knowing it, and through connections, Valdez will be the key to solving the murder in which corrupt politicians, false writers, and even doctors are involved.

Thus, the influence of the city on Karen is evident, who with the time begins to change their life plans, as a result of the connections that it has. This is how the threads of history begin to weave with the help of different voices, but with something in common: they are all feminine.

From the psychoanalyst, the mother desperate to find the guilty of the death of her daughter, even the wife of one of those involved, will all weave the argument "in a country where the truth only belongs to who can pay for it".

Who wrote it?

Melba Escobar is a writer born in Cali, but settled in Bogotá for 30 years. She has written several books such as Johnny and the sea (2014), Duermevela (2010) and Bogotá sueña, the city for children (2007). House of Beauty is her third fiction novel and was published in 2015.

In 2012 she was awarded an international scholarship from the Department of State for cultural matters. In addition, she writes columns of opinion in the newspaper El País de Cali. Her work House of Beauty, surprised by its popularity at the Book Fair held in London in 2017.

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As that point the book has been translated in 12 languages and has been sold in 14 countries. Also, in an article by The Guardian it was recommended in the best recent novels about crimes.

Should I read it or not?

This novel, beyond being located in an beauty parlor, makes a strong criticism of the unequal Colombian society present between Karen and her clients, women of the highest status who do not seem to care about passing over others. In addition, the reader can identify some characteristics of Colombia as a corrupt and sexist country.

The central argument comes and goes within the chapters, which can be narrated from different points of view. While it may seem confusing, there will always be a moment in the chapter in which it relates to the previous one. This coming and going makes this thriller more interesting, and definitely makes the reader keep reading to know the outcome of the story.

It is a perfect fiction novel for those readers who want to start reading this genre and show situations that seem fictitious, but that can resemble reality in a Latin American context.


LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

Translated from "Latam BookLook: "La Casa de la Belleza" de Melba Escobar"

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