The Comfort of Revenge is a gripping, atmospheric and highly readable literary thriller about the horrors of the military dictatorship in Chile.
Amateur astronomer Adrian is realising a long-held ambition to visit the famous giant telescope on La Palma in the Canary Islands. When he and his wife Karin arrive at their hotel they get to know the mysterious ornithologist Sara Hansen, who is living in the adjacent apartment. On a tour of the observatory, Sara faints at the moment their tour guide arrives. Later, she starts to open up about her past life. She grew up in Chile and forty years previously, on the day of the Pinochet military coup, she and her sister were arrested by secret police looking for their brother, who had been on President Allende’s campaign committee. Her sister was tortured and Sara never saw either sibling again: they were among ‘the Disappeared’. She had recognised the tour guide as her sister’s torturer, Osvaldo Duran Cardenas, now a successful astronomer. Sara moved to La Palma in order to find and kill this man, but Adrian and Karin cannot stand by and let her commit murder.
Wilfried Steiner skilfully builds the suspense throughout this richly descriptive novel. The exotic setting of La Palma and horrifying account of the Chilean coup make for an unusual, memorable combination.