In the Casa Azul is Meaghan Delahunt’s first novel, and I wanted to read this book, frankly, to learn a lot more about Frida. Let me state right away; if you don’t know much about Frida and want to read a book specifically for her, this book shouldn’t be the first to read on your list. But I think it might be nice if you take a look at this after you read a few books.
In the Casa Azul is about the period when Leon Trotsky and his wife stayed in Mexico at the home of Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera. The story is told in small parts by different people. Frankly, I had a hard time focusing on In the Casa Azul. The author’s style does not allow you to get completely lost in the story, and short stories told by different people do not help at all.
Still, the book becomes a little more enjoyable when you know all the characters and narrators in your mind after a certain time. That is if you want to invest your precious time. If your head is too occupied, don’t try to read In the Casa Azul, but be sure to take a look at the most appropriate time. Enjoy!
In the Casa Azul
In the Casa Azul: Pursued from country to country by Stalin’s GPU agents, Leon Trotsky finds refuge in Mexico City in 1937. There he encounters the fire and splendor of the artist Frida Kahlo who, with her husband Diego Rivera, welcomes Trotsky and his wife Natalia into their home, the Casa Azul.
Meaghan Delahunt’s breathtaking first novel explores those extraordinary years in Mexico, but also spreads before the reader a panorama of Russian history, revolution, and upheaval throughout the first half of the twentieth century.
We hear from Stalin’s desolate young wife, and Trotsky’s Ukrainian Jewish father, baffled by the dissolution of his own estate and the rise of his son, and from Trotsky himself, still smarting from his brief love affair with the mesmerizing Frida. Their voices mingle with the tales of the lesser known who, in their way, have also created history: the Mexican artist who foretells Trotsky’s death; a Bolshevik engineer surviving the chill of the Stalinist regime; and the bodyguard who is unable to prevent Trotsky’s assassination.
In the Casa Azul insightfully examines politics and art, as well as disillusionment and loss in the service of high ideals. This is a remarkable debut, a work of deep understanding and stunning literary artistry.
Meaghan Delahunt is a novelist and short story writer. Her work has been widely translated and anthologised. In 1997 she won the Flamingo/HQ National Short Story Prize in Australia. Awards for her novels In the Blue House (Bloomsbury, 2001), The Red Book (Granta, 2008) and To the Island (Granta, 2011) include a regional Commonwealth Prize, a Saltire Award and a nomination for the Orange Prize.
Her short story collection Greta Garbo’s Feet & Other Stories (Word Power Women, 2015) was longlisted for the Edgehill Short Story Prize 2016. Her latest novel is The Night-Side of the Country (UWAP, 2020)
She has worked as a Creative Writing Tutor at the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow and at St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh. In 2017-19 she was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Dundee and Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. She’s worked as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at St Andrews University and Stirling University in Scotland.
She is currently a tutor on the Oxford University MSt in Creative Writing. She is a qualified Hatha and Yin Yoga teacher and founding member of Yoga for Bhopal. Born in Melbourne, Meaghan has lived in Edinburgh since 1992.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: