Release Date: September 27th 2011 (Published in Spanish June 2009)
Format: Advance Reader Copy
Translator: Adriana V. Lopez
Source: TLC Book Tours
Buy It: Book Depository
A novel of love, war, and art, based on the turbulent real-life romance of legendary photojournalists Gerda Taro and Robert Capa who documented the Spanish Civil War.Love, war and photography, now those are topics that got me excited for this novel based on true events, but unfortunately they didn't quite add up the way I hoped. The first quarter or so of Waiting For Robert Capa moved slowly, but the language itself was so lovely that even if Fortes wasn't quite catching my interest, I was enjoying the lyricalness of her storytelling. However, once the novelty wore off, I found myself often bored and frustrated with the story. There was a lot of name-dropping, and that included mentions of individuals that while real, aren't incredibly well-known these days and that I regularly had to look up. The annoying part of this was that often names were used when it would have sufficed to say 'the man' or 'the woman' because the individual only appears in one sentence of the entire novel.
By around midway through Waiting For Robert Capa had come to a conclusion: novels about real people aren't quite my thing, as I was having many of the same issues I had earlier this year with The Paris Wife by Paula McLain occur again and perhaps they are a symptom of this type of book? What I am referring to is a lovely but detached writing, so that I never connect to the story. Both books also felt alternatively very slow, or very rushed, depending on which events they lingered on or hurried over. I wonder if I was more familiar with the history behind the these stories I would understand better why the authors did this, but ultimately I found that often things I found most interesting were hardly touched on. In Waiting For Robert Capa this included Gerda's history before coming to France, and Robert's experiences after the war as well as his relationship with his Jewish identity.
Ultimately Waiting For Robert Capa was written with lovely language, but those words told a story that I had difficulty connecting to and which often bored me, however a reader who enjoys novels from the perspectives of real people may find more to appreciate in Fortes' storytelling than I did.