Tuesday, July 8, 2014

El ruido de las cosas al caer (The sound of things falling) by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

Adulthood brings with it the pernicious illusion of control, perhaps even depends on it.
First impressions

I've been trying to read all of the Alfaguara winners, just as a personal project. I wanted to read this one in particular, since it is a Colombian author. However I was afraid it was another book that is appraised just because it talks openly about drug lords an drug issues in Colombia, but I was wrong/

Final thoughts

People from Bogota had grown accustomed to it [violence]
While the book takes places during a very hard time, late 90s when drug -cartel related-violence was on a peak the story told is not only about it. It is actually the story of people that end up touched by these situations almost as collateral damage. The main character, Antonio, takes us in a journey, his at first and his friend's Ricardo's later.

From the beginning I felt engaged by the voice of Antonio and how he saw his (my) city. While at the time the story is taking place, I was only 9/10 years old, I do remember the fear that was almost palpable in the air. I've heard those conversations between my relatives: where were you when this bomb exploded? What were you doing when X was killed? I am grateful I cannot add many anecdotes to these conversations, but I know it was a very sad reality to live through. However, what made this story different is that after being attacked, Antonio gets intrigued by the story behind Ricardo, by his humanity and not by his crimes only.

(...) Maybe because present doesn't really exist; everything is a memory, this sentence that I just wrote is already a memory, is a memory this word that you, reader, just read.
The descriptions of the city, of the tiny towns, of travelling through our roads, all hit the memories I have as a child. The ways the city and life were seen by Elaine Fritts reminded me of the conversations I had with my now fiancé about my country and how different the same situation would look to each of us.
In Colombia people always managed to be unpredictable
I quite enjoyed the writing and the pacing the author has. I don't know if this is particular to this book, since I haven't read anything else by him, but the tone and rhythm both carry the story nicely. 

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