Though her novel is largely allegorical, Sainz Borgo avoids a narrative that is overly reduced by symbols; the writing, like Coetzee’s, is tense and complex. In her hands, Borges’s question of bravery — and its obverse, cowardice — isn’t a neon theme, but rather a dynamic system made up of choices ... Borges once told his translator Norman Thomas di Giovanni to write not what he said, but what he was trying to say. Throughout It Would Be Night in Caracas, there are places where its translator, Elizabeth Bryer, does neither ... Near the end, Adelaida returns to her mother’s grave. Embossed letters have been stolen from the gravestone, the name she shared with her mother gone: 'For losing, we even lost our name. The Falcóns, queens of a world that was in its death throes.' Sainz Borgo stretches for, but doesn’t quite reach, a response to Vásquez. Though in that mysterious meaning-making machine that is a novel, she accidentally finds a better way to ask the question: After we bury our dead, are we ever the same?
... emotions are vividly and realistically depicted ... Extremely well written, beautifully translated, and graphic enough to make the reader feel afraid of the knocking on the door, this debut novel offers a heartfelt, personal story told without sentimentality while offering keen insight into the everyday fight for survival in a place that is still very much a failed state.
... not really a thriller. The book is too quiet and small for that, and does not seem interested in turning into a suspense novel. This, partially, gives the feeling that things are a bit too easy when it comes to Adelaida's escape. She just happens to wander into an apartment with an open door, happens to find a corpse inside, the dead woman happens to have just left behind all the documents Adelaida might need to assume her identity. In that sense, this is no Hollywood movie and there are few, if any, surprises ... On the other hand, where It Would Be Night in Caracas does feel like a movie is in the descriptions of a city in chaos; Sainz Borgo presents violence and anarchy in minute and shocking detail ... She also pays loving and close attention to the relationship between mother and daughter, to the daily life before strife broke out in Venezuela, and spends many pages ruminating on the issues of immigration and finding one's home ... Unfortunately, Sainz Borgo doesn't lend nearly as much space to considerations about colorism and classism, and how they fed into the political circumstances that plunged Venezuela into economic ruin ... it is when Adelaida retreats inwards that the book feels the most poignant and raw ... Yet, because of this interiority, Sainz Borgo's account of the terror gripping the nation feels amorphous. Rather than a political conflict, this could be a zombie apocalypse for all we know — and we know very little, especially considering Adelaida is a well-read, well-informed woman ... Though these might seem serious gripes, I found the language in the book to be poetic; it kept me reading, immersed in the beauty of the prose. It Would Be Night in Caracas is a painful, angry book, full of melancholy and rage at the loss of a woman's nation.
Sainz Borgo renders the psychological and emotional toll of government collapse with both nuance and authority, thrusting the reader into Adelaida's struggle for existence and the stark choices before her ... A propulsively written, harrowing story, as desperate as it is timely.
... harrowing ... The novel alternates scenes of present-day chaos with Adelaida’s memories of her loving mother, and Sainz Borgo infuses both sections with heartbreaking details that stay with the reader ... She does a fantastic job of showcasing Adelaida’s personal despair within the greater agony of the country. Readers will appreciate how Sainz Borgo puts a human face on the tragedy of Venezuela’s upheaval.