A new collection of electric, searing stories from award-winning, bestselling author Juan Gabriel Vásquez.
The characters in Songs for the Flames are men and women touched by violence—sometimes directly, sometimes only in passing—but whose lives are changed forever, consumed by fire and by unexpected encounters and unyielding forces.
A photographer becomes obsessed with the traumatic past that an elegant woman, a fellow guest staying at a countryside ranch, would rather leave behind. A military reunion forces a soldier to confront a troubling history, both personal and on a larger scale. And in a tour-de-force piece, the search for a book leads a writer to the fascinating story of why a woman is buried next to a graveyard, rather than in it—and the remarkable account of her journey from France to Colombia as a child orphan.
Juan Gabriel Vásquez returns to stories with these nine morally complex tales, fresh proof of his narrative versatility and his profound understanding of the lives of others. There’s a romantic wistfulness that combusts with the realities of dangerous histories, both personal and political, to throw these characters into the flames from which they either emerge purified, reborn, or burned and destroyed.
V squez (The Sound of Things Falling), a Dublin Literary Award winning Colombian novelist and journalist, delivers a bravura collection blending autofiction with stories of historical and personal trauma, each told by an unnamed Colombian novelist and journalist living in Barcelona. In "Double," the narrator receives a letter from Antonio Wolf, father of his grade school classmate Ernesto, who died during military service 10 years earlier, in which Antonio confesses that he'd hated the writer for not being drafted instead of Ernesto. In "Bad News," a Barcelona journalist recalls meeting U.S. expatriate John Regis in a Paris hotel while watching the 1998 World Cup. Regis had told him the story of his best friend, a pilot who was killed in a helicopter crash in M laga. Several years later, during a visit to M laga, the narrator tracks down the pilot's widow at a nearby U.S. base, in search of a story. In the standout title story, prefaced with the line, "This is the saddest story I have ever heard," the narrator's research on the murders of two Colombian revolutionaries leads him to unravel a mystery, and V squez unearths the regrets and choices that define the narrator and those he engages with. V squez continues to distinguish himself among the finest writers from Latin America.