The Sound of Things Falling

The Sound of Things Falling

Book - 2013
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An intimate portrayal of the drug wars in Colombia, f rom 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.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2013
ISBN: 9781594632747
Branch Call Number: F Vas


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Mar 27, 2019

I found this book almost un-put-downable, and the language of both author and translator just swept me away. It's a page-turner, but it's also a reflection on fate and death, the ripple effects of violence, and the ease and speed with which events can veer off into other directions. It's also a sobering look at the violence in Colombia during the 1980s and 1990s, set in a time where the narrator is oblivious to the violence yet to come. At the end of it, I found myself googling the events of the novel, and felt sobered to realize that, while fiction, it is grounded in fact. Perhaps not the best pre-holiday reading, but certainly an excellent book that fully deserves all the praise it garnered.

A new novel by an award-winning Columbian author, it gives gripping insight into Columbian life. Growing up in drug cartel-addled Columbia, a young professor’s chance and painful encounter shows him how generations pay for actions of long ago. Spot-on character descriptions and dialogue, perceptive translation and dark, yet exploratory and not devastating. Highly recommended to those interested in modern history and in timeless, although sometimes painful, human themes. (submitted by JW)

Jun 16, 2016

I like books by this author. To understand their pessimistic feeling, seeping from every page, you need to know more deeply about the history, politics and events in Colombia. It annoys me a bit that he is trying to create some kind of "Colombian literature of lost generation", as was the case with many authors during and after the First World War. Hence the motives of loneliness, emptiness and lack of meaning of life that Vasquez is attributing to his personages. But reality is not quite like that - what the writer is trying to show about Colombians -they in general don't suffer from a deep despair, despite the violent history of the country. But the language of the book is very good. And here we must pay tribute to the translator.

Oct 14, 2014

Well written narrative prose, but some of the dialogue was weak, and the relationships problematic. Still, a joy to read.

The copy I read had wrong pagination for the chapters (which I corrected in pencil).

Winner of IMPAC award.

Sep 26, 2014

2014 Dublin Impact Award winner. This is a wonderful novel, partially set during the Escobar years in Bogota and about the impact of the violence and fear caused by the drug trade on ordinary citizens. It is also a meditation on memory and fate. The book is extremely well-written and highly recommended.

Dec 08, 2013

Great writing; compelling story. I looked forward to reading this, chapter by chapter.


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