Laplatia is labeled as a Dystopia, but it is not a contemporary style young adult targeted dystopia, like those which are hitting the shelves lately. If I must compare with other dystopias, I would say it has more the feel of “1984” or “Fahrenheit 451” than that of “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent”.
It’s about a city in the near future where dreams and creative thoughts are used to produce energy, so the inhabitants aren’t allowed to dream freely, but need to give creative energy to “extractors” which will convert it so the city can use it.
I am willing to classify Laplatia as Magical Realism, although it does not have the magical component. Magical Realism “a literary genre or style associated especially with Latin America that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). As I said, it lacks the magic, but the science fiction hint here covers for the missing magic part. And it resembles in tone some well known Latin American writers.
Thinking about it, however, I would actually say that the best classification should be Psychological Realism, which is a classification for a work of prose that focuses more in character development (emotions, inner thoughts, psychological aspects) that in scenery or plot development. So don’t expect lots of action. But it has some action, though.
The characters are very well developed, as is usual in Psychological Realism. The author is very skilled in portraying their emotions and reactions. As a person who was treated for Depression and Anxiety, I could identify completely with various scenes and moments of the book.
The author has a very poetic voice. I could sense a rhythm that is not very common to English speakers, it has a musicality that is not too usual to contemporary novels. It has the musicality particular to the (Brazilian) Portuguese language. I may have sensed this because I knew Loch from his first book, “Bile Negra”, written in Portuguese, and I hope he is able/ willing to publish Laplatia in this language also, so lusophone readers can enjoy once more his musical prose.
It is the second book I read from Loch, and I already want more (if you speak Portuguese, go take a look at “Bile Negra”, a novel, and “Azul de Turmalina”, a short story).
Don’t treat Laplatia as a page turner, though: it is a fairly short read, yes (it’s slightly short of 40,000 words, a novella), but don’t read it too fast: it needs to be savored and analyzed, and you will need pauses for the psychological turmoil to sink.
I actually read it twice, beginning the second reading immediately after I finished it for the first time!
For a fairly new author, in his second lengthy published work, it is very, very good. I also found some typographical and grammatical mistakes (I’ve read the first edition, first impression), but I was informed that those were already corrected in the kindle version.
Overall, it was a very good read.I would give it 4.5*/5*.