A taut new novel by the award-winning author of The Sound of Things Falling - 'one of the most original voices of Latin American literature', Mario Vargas Llosa
As Colombia's famed political cartoonist, Javier Mallarino, strolls through downtown Bogot. in the hours before a public celebration of his career in the grand Teatro Colon, he contemplates the start of his professional life, and how he set down his oils and took up a pen to begin drawing caricatures for a living. But the celebration has far-reaching consequences: as he leaves the theatre a figure from his past, now a young woman, emerges from the crowd outside and forces Mallarino to confront an incident that took place in his home half a lifetime ago, calling into question his reputation and the value of his life's work.
Vasquez's terse, poetic prose contrasts starkly with the intense and sharply focused content of this beautifully structured novel. Questioning the power of memory and the media, and their ability to distort, inform and destroy, Vasquez plays with the past and the present, challenging our perception of the truth.
About the Author
Juan Gabriel Vasquez was born in Bogot. in 1973. He studied Latin American literature at the Sorbonne, and has translated works by E. M. Forster and Victor Hugo, amongst others, into Spanish. His previous books have won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Alfaguara Prize, the Gregor von Rezzori Prize, the Prix Roger Caillois and he has been shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Reputations was awarded the Royal Spanish Academy Prize in 2014. His books have been published in twenty-six languages and forty countries. After sixteen years in France, Belgium and Spain, he now lives in Bogot..
Anne McLean has translated works by many Spanish and Latin American authors including Javier Cercas, Hector Abad, Carmen Martin Gaite, Julio Cortazar, Ignacio Martinez de Pison, Enrique Vila-Matas and Tomas Eloy Martinez. She lives in Toronto.
Vasquez's prose, translated by Anne MacLean, is spare and effective, with a pleasing precision ... A strong writer with a compelling vision * Guardian *
An affecting, carefully paced work of psychological realism * Times Literary Supplement *
A masterful writer * Nicole Krauss *
A thrilling new discovery * Colm Toibin *
This is a magnificent novel, short and dense, whose three parts are calibrated to the millimetre * Le Monde *
This is a powerfully written novella and Vasquez's prose, as always, has a stark elegance that lends it weight * Frank Wynne *
A troubling story of a political cartoonist who finds his convictions tested when a traumatic past event returns to haunt him ... will take you far away into different and secret worlds -- Mariella Fostrup * Observer *
Another gripping morality tale that was much bigger in scope than its slim volume might suggest -- Mariella Frostup * Observer, 'Book of the Year' *
In the latest offering by Colombian author of The Sounds of Things Falling, a celebrated political cartoonist us forced to confront an episode from his past - one that is likely not only to ruin his reputation but also leave his own sense of righteousness in tatters -- Angel Gurria-Quintana * Financial Times, 'Books of the Year' *