From the author of The Sound of Things Falling, a "brilliant new novel" (New York Times Book Review) and one of the most buzzed about books of the year!
"One of the most original new voices of Latin American literature." -- Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
When Gabriel Santoro's book is scathingly reviewed by his own father, a famous Bogotá rhetorician, Gabriel is devastated. Cataloguing the life of longtime family friend Sara Guterman, a Jewish German immigrant who escaped to Colombia during the 1930s, Gabriel's book seemed an innocent attempt to preserve a piece of his country's rapidly vanishing past. But as Gabriel pours over his research looking for clues to his father's anger, he discovers a sinister secret locked in the pages. After his father's death, and with the help of Sara Guterman and his father's girlfriend, Angelina, Gabriel peels back layer after shocking layer of family history-from the streets of 1940s Bogotá to a stranger's doorstep in 1990s Medellín-to reveal a hidden portrait of their past-dark, complex, and inescapable.
Juan Gabriel Vásquez has been hailed as one of the leading writers of his generation, compared to Borges, John Le Carre, Joseph Conrad and W. G. Sebald.
Betrayals public and private collide in Colombian author V squez's first novel to appear in the States, a crushing and beautifully tricky novel. Gabriel Santoro's publication of a book about a family friend, Sara Guterman, a German Jew who arrived in Colombia with her family in 1938, unexpectedly enrages his father, a famous professor of rhetoric (also named Gabriel Santoro) who prefers that the past remain forgotten. When the elder Gabriel has a change of heart (after a health crisis), it coincides with a sexual relationship he begins with Angelina, his physiotherapist. But after Gabriel confesses to Angelina long-held past transgressions shortly before his accidental death, Angelina turns against Gabriel on national television while the younger Gabriel watches. The younger Gabriel then delves into Sara's memories of wartime intrigue and anguish revolving around suspected Nazi sympathizers. But Gabriel's lust for the truth makes him susceptible to committing harsh betrayals of his own. In V squez's intricate narrative, morality is ambiguous and as treacherous as the early-1990s Bogot backdrop, and its intelligence and unsparing tone will hold readers rapt through its many twists and turns.
Has a strong feel of South American writing. Great style and story.