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A Luminous Republic Reviews

A Luminous Republic by Andres Barba, Lisa Dillman

A Luminous Republic

Andres Barba, Lisa Dillman

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Granta Books
Publisher: Granta Books
Publication date: 6 Aug 2020
ISBN: 9781846276934

One day, the children begin to show up in the subtropical town of San Cristobal

4 stars out of 5
21 Nov 2020

"Barba’s denouement still grips with the power of a thriller"

The book’s title also evokes Plato’s vision of a just society. As public opinion turns against the children, officials consider lowering the age of imprisonable offence to thirteen, with special detention centres set up for any younger child with no known guardian. We know the story’s tragic outcome from the novel’s first sentence, which tells us that thirty-two children will lose their lives. And yet Barba’s denouement still grips with the power of a thriller. After the adults discover the children’s hideout – a luminous republic – all they can do is try to come to terms with the darkness coursing through themselves.


4 stars out of 5
Jonathan Derbyshire
14 Aug 2020

"A Latin American city is beset by a band of feral kids in the unsettling A Luminous Republic"

As a parable of the loss of faith in the “religion of childhood” and the fetish of childish innocence, A Luminous Republic would be satisfying enough. But Barba also manages to conjure a denouement (faint intimations of which are seeded throughout the book) that the novelist Edmund White describes in his foreword, with some justification, as “transcendent and beautiful”.