Carola Perla
Artist : Author
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HUMBOLDT'S RICHES - in progess, projected completion 2013
Semi-autobiographical "Heart of Darkness" that follows a young family's journey into the Peruvian Amazon of 1980, and their attempt to escape its hidden world of cocaine runners, imperialist relics, and brewing political unrest.
“For days on end I fought off hands sliding surreptitiously on my seat as I took it, felt palms coasting my skirt on the stairs, fingers searching my hip in a busy corridor.  And if it was not these physical trespasses, then I endured leers over newspapers, crass teasing, uninvited questions, flatulence…as far as I could tell, a man’s invasive nature knew no bounds…My eye caught the brass glint of clock hands.  Ten more minutes before I was expected downstairs.  To commence this new chapter with yet more men about me.  Except that in this case, considering the circumstance, the title of invader was really mine.” – Gibbin House
Thus tells Anka Pietraru, a mute 22-year old Romanian with a history of victimization at the hands of men, of her forced journey from Vienna to London.  It is the summer of 1949, and Europe remains a scarred postwar landscape of ravaged cities, broken families, and poverty.  At Gibbin House, a former safehouse for political exiles, only four men remain - feuding intellectuals, artists, and academics trapped in the house by the disappointment of the life that evaded them. 
The mysterious circumstances of Anka’s arrival shakes them out of their stupor. Especially Theodor Soller, the most withdrawn and embittered of the Gibbin House residents, who finds himself endeared to this insular but precocious young woman.  Soon the most unlikely of friendships forms between two alienated souls longing for connection. But with this trust comes the unearthing of the house’s buried grudges and unrequited loves.  Anka’s discoveries will unwittingly expose her mother's own unthinkable sacrifices and reveal a secret thread that connects them all. And before they know it, the men will have to decide if they can put their demons to rest in order to give Anka the future she deserves, of if some wounds run too deep to forgive.
Carola Perla, Gibbin House - On her decision to create Anka Pietraru as a mute protagonist:

“Transience leaves a special sort of mark on a young person, especially in terms of language.  Not being able to communicate for months at a time with people around you, being dismissed because you have no voice.  And even when you begin to speak, you suffer the sensation of never quite being able to express everything.  I’m always in awe at a place like immigrant-rich Miami, because it is a place overflowing with lives, thoughts, and feelings unshared.  I’ve been Anka much of my life and I see her everywhere.”


For an inside look into characters, themes and other author insights into the books, as well as news, excerpts, and event photos, visit: Gibbin House Blog
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