Week 4 | La Ciudad de las Bestias


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Collaborative google sheets

Chapter Start date Title End page Pgs in Ch. Wk #
4 8 Apr El río Amazonas 62 20 4

Discussion Guidelines

  • Spoilers should always be hidden using spoiler blur.
  • When discussing a specific section, please mention where you are in the book so people reading different versions have a clear point of reference.
  • Feel free to read ahead if it’s exciting, but please refrain from spoiling ahead of the appropriate week.
  • If you have a question about grammar, vocab, cultural things, etc - ask! That’s a welcome part of the discussion too, and other readers will be happy to help.
  • Even if you don’t read the chapter(s) in time, you are still encouraged to post your thoughts.
  • The google sheets is here to help you with vocab, grammar and anything else you might need. Feel free to add to it!

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Week 4 read. And suddenly we’re into the story! Looking back we learned a lot about Kate and Alex in the first three chapters and it’s good to now get on with the action.

I enjoyed meeting some new characters this week - Ludovic Leblanc clearly thinks far too highly of himself and presumably has completely misrepresented the native people in his previous work. I’m looking forward to him being brought down another peg. His exchange with Kate and Omayra is fun, ending with an amused look shared between the two women. I like Omayra Torres, hopefully she’ll continue as part of the story. I also liked little Nadia, whose name I keep misreading as the word nadie at the start of sentences!

It’s funny reading a book written in Spanish, but where the characters are communicating to each other in English. Especially when we meet Nadia, who from her background wouldn’t be expected to speak good English, but in fact can speak good English, although her sentences in English are told to us the reader through the medium of Spanish. It would be easy to get confused!


It took me a bit of time to get my head around this sentence early in the chapter. It was nice that events later in the chapter confirmed my interpretation was correct:

El guía brasilero, César Santos, quien debía irlos a buscar a Manaos, no pudo llegar porque su avioneta estaba descompuesta, así es que los esperaría en Santa María de la Lluvia, donde el grupo tendría que trasladarse en barco.

On going back to this sentence it’s helpful to know that ir a buscar can simply mean to pick up/collect.


Close, but made it in time! I started reading on Wednesday, which in hindsight was a bit late. Last week’s short chapter made me lower my guard! :joy:
I read the chapter over five days and averaged 20-30 minutes and 2-3 pages for most days. Except Thursday, on which I read 6(!) pages in 47 minutes. That’s the most read in one day for me so far. :blush:

Anyway, the story! I enjoyed this chapter. The jungle is described in such detail, and the dolphin was a nice extra. And of course Alex is a picky eater… I mean to each their own, but I reckon he’ll have to get accustomed to some new foods sooner rather than later.

I like Nadia. And the priest! What a character, haha.

There were a couple instances where I wasn’t 100 percent sure about a sentence even with look ups, but usually just keeping reading gave enough context that I felt comfortable continuing anyway.


Just finished week 4 myself; I didn’t think to check the page count for this week, so I was pretty surprised when it kept going and going and going, haha. This was a good chapter, though! I’m happy to get out of dreary New York and into the vibrant rainforest; I’m really enjoying Allende’s writing style. Even being read with a subpar understanding, everything still pops so vividly; it’s very easy to imagine yourself there. Like Micki and Belerith have mentioned, I’m really enjoying the new characters; Leblanc in particular seems like a fun guy. I’ll be waiting on him to say something ridiculously offensive and get them all in trouble with the local natives, haha.

I’m liking Nadia so far; I’m curious where she’ll go from here. I’m also wondering if Kate is going to continue to play a large part in the story or not, or whether she’s here mostly as a vehicle to get Alex places.


I’m still in the book club, though still lagging behind, unfortunately! :sweat_smile:

Had a really hard time focusing on the audio book for this chapter for some reason (I have this problem with English audio books a lot, hence why I tend to avoid the format…), so I sort of tuned in and out. It didn’t help that there was a lot more specialized vocab that I didn’t know.

I didn’t have a problem understanding anything when reading it, though!

If anyone is in the mood for more Amazon rainforest media, I recommend Frontera Verde S1 | L30??! I watched it on Netflix with Spanish subtitles last year and enjoyed it a lot. Having seen that series, I feel like I’m able to better envision the setting of this book, and also better understand some of the threats the region has to deal with…


I was finally able to pick this up again. All in all, I think that my decision to go from intensive to extensive reading is the right one. Sure, I may not learn as much new vocab, but I’m picking a couple things here and there through context as I go. At least I can say that I’m now reading a lot faster, and reading is also a lot more enjoyable. I’m still far from my reading speed in French or English, because I tend to read very quickly in those languages, but it’s a lot better than when I was marking down every word I wasn’t 100% sure about.

I really enjoyed the description of the jungle, and I can’t wait for them to meet the local tribes here. I was also not expecting at all the sudden eugenism talk from Leblanc.

Yeah, that’s what I though too when reading this. I’m just waiting (and hoping) for his reputation to be ruined.