The dictatorship of Manuel Odria (1948-1956) has devastated the society of Peru in all its branches, politics, journalism, culture. In the mid fifties, a high-class college student, Santiago Zavala, believes in freedom of expression and, with other partners, rebels against the government, publishing revolutionary papers while studying books on Marxism and Communism.
Soon after, however, Santiago notices his actions don't harm their enemy at all and then he's depressed at the thought that what they're doing might be only a child's battle against grown-ups. He quits the rebellion when he's sent to spend a night in prison after being caught printing papers. Also, Santiago confronts his wealthy father and leaves home. (His father made his fortune by selling medications to state hospitals, through relations with the dictatorship.)
Santiago doesn't believe in himself nor others anymore. Once, his destiny was a place in a law school surrounded by the big shots. Now, in the sixties, being an obscure journalist married to a low-class nurse making enough money to survive, he meets one of his father's bodyguards, Ambrosio. They share some beers in a bar called The Cathedral.
There, they begin to recall the 16-year dictatorship at speed of lightning, with a scene amounting to the next, the past made present through the eyes of Santiago's family members, frustrated love affairs, political partners, betrayed friends and the future Santiago shattered: an individual future which represents a society being taken away of its dreams and hopes.
The review of this Book prepared by Augusto Wong Campos