The Sound of Things Falling
DescriptionAn intimate portrayal of the drug wars in Colombia, from international fiction star Juan Gabriel Vasquez. 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 New York Times-bestselling, award-winning, gorgeously wrought 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 his literary star--even higher.
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Praise for The Informers "[A] remarkable novel. It deals with big universal themes... It is the best work of literary fiction to come my way since 2005...and into the bargain it is immensely entertaining, with twists and turns of plot that yield great satisfaction." --Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post "One hallmark of a gifted novelist is the ability to see the potential for compelling fiction in an incident, anecdote or scrap of history, no matter how dry or seemingly obscure, that others have overlooked. By that standard and several others, the career of Juan Gabriel Vásquez...is off to a notable start....[A] straight-ahead, old-fashioned narrative... Two years ago Mr. Vásquez was included on a list of the most 'important' Latin American writers under 40, nominated by more than 2,000 authors, literary agents, librarians, editors and critics. The Informers alone justifies their choice, given its challenging subject and psychological depth, but clearly there are bigger and even more intriguing things on the way." -- Larry Rohter, The New York Times "Chilling...The past is a shadow-bound, elusive creature in [The Informers]... When pursued it may flee, or, if cornered, it may unleash terrible truths." --Los Angeles Times "To read The Informers is to enjoy the shock of new talent... [Vásquez's] novel is subtle, surprising and deeply pleasurable, with razors secreted among its pages." --The Cleveland Plain Dealer "Compelling...The book combines a reflection on the delicate bonds of family, a journey through one of the few untold stories of World War II and even a look at the sometimes parasitic nature of the media... What sets The Informers, apart from other historical novels is Vasquez's questioning of his own role as muckraker and writer." --San Francisco Chronicle "Dramatic and surprising..." --Harper's Magazine "Unlike anything written by his Latin American contemporaries. If there is any prevailing influence in this chilling work, it is in the late German writer, W.G. Sebald...The Informers deserves to be read...[O]ne of this year's outstanding books." --The Financial Times "Masterful...Vásquez has much in common with Roberto Bolaño.... But unlike Bolaño's stolid, serviceable prose, Vásquez's style is musical, occasionally even lush, and its poeticism remains unmuddled in McLean's translation." --Bookforum
Praise for The Secret History of Costaguana "An intricately detailed, audacious reframing of Nostromo, the classic 1904 Joseph Conrad tale of power, corruption, intrigue and revolution in a South American country he called Costaguana. The Secret History of Costaguana is a potent mixture of history, fiction and literary gamesmanship. Vásquez's themes are of the moment: powerful countries (the U.S. foremost among them) dabbling in Latin American politics, bribing politicians and journalists, trolling for profits; European writers appropriating history for their own tales. His particular triumph with this novel is to remind us, as Balzac put it, that novels can be 'the private histories of nations.'"--Los Angeles Times "[An] exceptional new novel...When Mr. Vásquez, like Conrad, focuses on the individuals trapped in these national tragicomedies, he displays a keen emotional and moral awareness. The Secret History of Costaguana is a cunning tribute to a classic, but it also stands on its own merits as a dense and involving story about men who are either manipulating history or finding themselves at the barrel-end of it." --Wall Street Journal [A] post-modern literary revenge story." --The New York Times