Wednesday, 19 December 2018
5 books by Colombian authors who aren't Gabriel García Márquez
Think of Colombian literature and think of García Márquez, right? Well, he is pretty fantastic but what about the rest? This vast (five times the size of the UK), culturally diverse land has writers running the breadth of it – from the south and Bogotá to Cartegena and the north – here are five standout authors available in translation now.
Fish Soup by Margarita García Robayo, translated by Charlotte Coombe (Charco Press, 2018)
This collection/soup contains two novellas and a slew of short stories, translated for the first time into English by the Edinburgh based Charco Press. Witty and acerbic, the prose here is exciting and at times quite beautiful.
Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated by Anne McLean (Bloomsbury, 2017)
A famous cartoonist sets out to collect an award for his life’s work at Bogotá’s grand Teatro Colón and contemplates his life en route. It’s a life spent stirring up political mischief with far-reaching consequences – personal ones too – as a woman emerges from his past, leaving him questioning what reputation he really has to celebrate after all.
Delirium by Laura Restrepo, translated by Natasha Wimmer (Vintage, 2007)
Aguila returns home after a three-day business trip to discover that his beloved wife, Augustina, has gone mad. What follows is a journey into her darkest past. Other narratives are mixed with hers. This is a tale of tragedy, corruption and power at any human cost.
The Farm by Héctor Abad, translated by Anne McLean (World Editions, 2018)
La Oculta in the Colombian mountains is a beautiful place that’s had more than its handout of terror. This is a novel as much about land loved and lost as it is about people struggling to come to terms with their relationship to it.
The Armies by Evelio Rosario, translated by Anne McLean (New Directions, 2010)
‘And this is how it was: at the Brazilian’s house the macaws laughed all the time …' is how Rosario’s tale of Ismail, a retired teacher in a small Colombian town begins. Haunted by his past, Ismail finds fresh hell in his future when the armies arrive in town. There’s violence but extreme tenderness within these pages.
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