Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book Review: Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of the 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine by Hector Tobar


Non-fiction. I read this in April 2015, immediately after I read The Southern Tiger by Ricardo Lagos, to further my understanding of Chile and because my department chair recommended it to me. She is also an avid reader but tends to read mostly fiction, she is not terribly fond of non-fiction, so I thought if she found this particular piece of non-fiction to be a must-read that I definitely should give it a go. And it definitely is a must-read, even if you do not remember all the news broadcasts about the miners from 2010. I found the BBC site on the miners to be incredibly useful while reading the book, I kept it up on my smartphone while reading the book so that I could see pictures of the mine/miners and illustrations of the condition of the mine and the various pieces of equipment used to rescue them: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special_reports/chile_mine. I also found out after reading the book that is has been made into a movie called The 33 that is set to be released this November: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2006295/.

This book is successful because it is a story about the men, their experiences in the mine before the accident, mostly during it, the people who rallied for them and worked to rescue them, and how their lives turned out afterward. It does not read like a news report but almost like a compelling novel. It is hard to put down, you become heavily invested in the lives of the men, what they are doing to survive, and discovering their personalities along the way. If you want to know what really happened to the miners you can do no better than reading this book. I watched a trailer for The 33 and although it does look interesting, it seems very Hollywood, turning it into a sort of action flick (Juliette Binoche is a fine actress but not remotely Chilean or even South American in any way). 

This book is definitely one of the most compelling and interesting works of non-fiction I have ever read, I recommend it to all. I often read this in the dark on my Nook Glowlight, and I think that probably helped the realism for me: I was in the dark just like the men; but, I was free to get out of the dark as soon as morning came, I was free to go outside, to get fresh water, to see my loved ones in-person. It was an interesting juxtaposition for me. I suggest reading it the same way if you have the means to do so.

And so it goes...

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