* National Bestseller and winner of the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
* Hailed by Edmund White as "a brilliant new novel" on the cover of the New York Times Book Review
* Lauded by Jonathan Franzen, E. L. Doctorow and many others
From a global literary star comes a prize-winning tour de force – an intimate portrayal of the drug wars in Colombia.
Juan Gabriel Vásquez has been hailed not only as one of South America’s greatest literary stars, but also as one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. In this gorgeously wrought, award-winning novel, Vásquez confronts the history of his home country, Colombia.
In the city of Bogotá, Antonio Yammara reads an article about a hippo that had escaped from a derelict zoo once owned by legendary Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The article transports Antonio back to when the war between Escobar’s Medellín cartel and government forces played out violently in Colombia’s streets and in the skies above. Back then, Antonio witnessed a friend’s murder, an event that haunts him still. As he investigates, he discovers the many ways in which his own life and his friend’s family have been shaped by his country’s recent violent past. His journey leads him all the way back to the 1960s and a world on the brink of change: a time before narco-trafficking trapped a whole generation in a living nightmare.
Vásquez is “one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature,” according to Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, and The Sound of Things Falling is his most personal, most contemporary novel to date, a masterpiece that takes his writing—and will take his literary star—even higher.
That story is to blame, declares a character in Colombian author Vasquez s latest novel (after The Secret History of Costaguana). Indeed, this book is an exploration of the ways in which stories profoundly impact lives. Around 1996, when murder and bloody mayhem fueled by the drug trade were commonplace in Bogot , the young law professor Antonio Yammara befriends enigmatic stranger Ricardo Laverde. One night, assassins on motorbikes open fire on the two, killing Laverde and seriously wounding Yammara. Conflicted and at a loss to understand the damage Laverde has wrought, Yammara looks into his life story. Yammara suffers from crippling psychic and physical wounds as a result of the shooting, and his investigation takes him to Laverde s shabby Bogot apartment, where he receives a gruesome clue from the grieving landlady. Yammara eventually finds Laverde s daughter Maya, a beekeeper who lives in the Colombian countryside. She shows Yammara photos and letters she s collected about the father she never knew. Together they lose themselves in stories of Laverde s childhood; of Maya s American mother, Elaine Fritts; and of Elaine and Laverde s love affair. Vasquez allows the story to become Elaine s, and as the puzzle of Laverde is pieced together, Yammara comes to realize just how thoroughly the stories of these other people are part of his own.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Metaphor of Falling
It's rich in metaphors for life and the war on drugs. It is not a crime story, but a memoir of a man in Colombia. The memories he describes are of a violent Colombia, as well as peaceful one. However, the main focus is on humanity, change, psychology, happiness and disillusionment. Recommended to all who like the subjects mentioned and history.
A Deluge of Memories
I lived in Bogota during part of the 1980's, and nothing has brought back too me so vividly those dramatic times as this wonderful book.
Great start, boring last ⅓
Very interesting factually, up to a point. Personal life terribly clichéd though: the burden of family life on the young academic... so male centric it bored me to tears... Worth a read, I guess. Well translated as well.