From the award-winning, bestselling author of The Sound of Things Falling and Reputations, a brilliant collection of stories that showcases why he is one of the best writers—in any language—working today.
Lovers on All Saints' Day is an emotional book that haunts, moves, and seduces. Juan Gabriel Vásquez, the brilliant novelist, now brings his keen eye and rich prose to the themes of love and memory in these seven powerful stories.
Vásquez achieves an extraordinary unity of emotion with these fragmented lives. A Colombian writer is witness to a murder that will mark him forever. A woman sits alone in her house, waiting for her husband to return from an expedition to find wood for their stove, while he lies in another woman’s bed a few miles away, unable to heal the wound in his own marriage. In these stories, there are love affairs, revenge, troubled pasts, and tender moments that reveal a person’s whole history in a few sentences.
Set in Europe (the scene of Vásquez’s own self-imposed exile from Latin America) and never before available in English, this collection evokes a singular mood and a tone, and showcase Vásquez’s hypnotic writing. Vásquez is a humane, deeply insightful writer, and these stories leave one feeling transformed from the experience of reading them, with a greater vision of humanity and society, a greater understanding of relationships and of love.
These stories from Vasquez (The Sound of Things Falling) were originally published in Spanish, in 2001, when the Colombian author was in self-imposed exile in Europe and aghast at how "fate or fluke is the name we give to events beyond our control that lay waste to our soaring dreams." A number of Vasquez's characters are middle-aged or old, mostly flawed men falling toward solitude at the expense of their lovers and wives. Many of the settings are in the forests of the Ardennes, peopled with hunters and fishermen, and impart a kind of foreboding; the metaphors for which Vasquez is celebrated abound: in "Hiding Places," an immature fish cannot be saved when lured by a callous sportsman; in "The Lodger," an address book once rejected by a lover contains beautiful maps of places that do not exist. The title story tells of a man who agrees to spend All Hallow's Eve night with a young widow, even donning her dead husband's pajamas to comfort her. Vasquez charts the internal struggles of small men whose mistakes and betrayals condemn them to a confounding world that repeatedly fails to satisfy, a world about which one character wonders "if everything had a human cause and another random one..." The stories "go into dark places and come back with the news. It's not necessarily geographical," Vasquez has said, but they do shed "light on dark places of the soul."