Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Delirium by Laura Restrepo

Sorry guys, once again I forgot to take the picture before bringing the book back to the library :/

Every story is like a big cake, everyone gives account of the piece he or she is eating and the only one that can account for the whole thing is the baker.

Why I read this book

My reading of Hispanic authors has gone down in the last years, let alone Colombian authors. Restrepo's book has been acclaimed with several prizes and my family liked it, so I decided to jump back on the horse with this one.

What the book is about

This book takes us through the loose of sanity of Agustina and how this affects the people around her in the present while at the same time showing us what was it in her past that brought the fall. As side players we also have a view on the money laundry that was taking place during the Pablo Escobar and narcoterrorism period that took place in Bogotá during the late 1980's.

First impressions

I can see how the prose in this book has been compared to the one often found in Saramago's work. The jumps in phrasing, sometimes abrupt might make it hard to follow as it happens with Saramago. However, as you advance in the story it gets easier and at a certain point the changes between voices became seamless.

Final thoughts

The way this book not only explores the psyche of Agustina, past and present, but also the very intricate situation that the country was going through makes it unique. Is not the first (nor it will be the last one) to deal with the drug’s problematic in Colombia, but it is the first one I read that doesn’t gravitate solely around the people implicated in the trafficking or in this case the money laundry. In here, the pain and fragility that Agustina goes through is not due to it.

Her whole back story, going all the way back to her grandfather is accompanied by “insane” outbursts, with behaviours that were hidden but that could have point at a very delicate personality. The whole family dynamics that is shown, her relation with her father, her 2 brothers, her mom and aunt; those dynamics alone could have shown a part of the reality if the country, with the blatant machismo of the father and the dependence on appearances of the mother.

When you add the fact that the status of the family, or better say the money that keeps this status is related to the biggest drug lord the country has known, it allows the author to discuss, if not critic, the behaviour towards this illegal operations and how it touched different levels of society, both directly and indirectly, to a point that people would be deep into their knees without knowing anything at all.

What prevent me from giving to this book a full 5 stars is that I was left hanging at the end with a lot of questions unresolved and not enough bases to construct my own ending. You see, and abrupt end is not a bad thing in itself to me, but a lot of the books that have done so and that I have loved, left me with whispers during the whole story that allow me to construct a possible array of conclusions. In this book at the end I felt like, in the vertiginous life of Agustina and her family, we all crashed into a wall disguised as a final period, while a lot was left unsaid.

Isn't it right father, that one is crazy inside?

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