STARRED REVIEW
October 07, 2014

Miracle in a Chilean mine

By Héctor Tobar
Review by
In 2010, the world watched the dramatic rescue of 33 Chilean miners who had endured 69 days buried a half-mile underground. The men, who agreed in advance that they would only tell their story collectively, talked to Héctor Tobar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who had exclusive access to the miners. They were generous and unsparing as they shared their experiences with him, resulting in a narrative that’s both harrowing and deeply moving.
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In 2010, the world watched the dramatic rescue of 33 Chilean miners who had endured 69 days buried a half-mile underground. The men, who agreed in advance that they would only tell their story collectively, talked to Héctor Tobar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who had exclusive access to the miners. They were generous and unsparing as they shared their experiences with him, resulting in a narrative that’s both harrowing and deeply moving.

Tobar makes it clear that each man's experience is unique. Even from the beginning, as he traces their journeys that fateful morning from their scattered homes to the San José mine in the Atacama desert region of Chile, we encounter the men as individuals. How they manage to work together to endure—even before they are found—is fascinating and inspiring.

Deep Down Dark describes the cave-in, the day-to-day struggle to survive below, the search above and the triumphant discovery that the men had lived, as well as the complicated and risky rescue operation. I know I'm in the hands of a skillful writer when I know the end of the story, but I still cannot stop reading because I'm riveted by the suspenseful account. Because the miners were willing to reveal their personal, emotional and spiritual struggles, as well as family issues, Tobar is able to illuminate how their experiences made leaders and spokesmen of some, followers and rebels of others, and left a permanent impression on their lives.

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Deep Down Dark

Deep Down Dark

By Héctor Tobar
FSG
ISBN 9780374280604

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