The Shape of the Ruins
Juan Gabriel Vasquez, Anne McLean
Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2019
“Like Don DeLillo’s JFK-themed Libra, the novel is an intoxicating blend of fact and fiction” Glasgow Herald
“A masterful writer” Nicole Krauss
“Vasquez has succeeded Garcia Marquez as the literary grandmaster of Colombia” Ariel Dorfman, New York Review of Books
“A dazzlingly choreographed network of echoes and mirrorings” T.L.S.
It takes the form of personal and formal investigations into two political assassinations – the murders of Rafael Uribe Uribe in 1914, the man who inspired Garcia Marquez’s General Buendia in One Hundred Years of Solitude, and of the charismatic Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the man who might have been Colombia’s J.F.K., gunned down on the brink of success in the presidential elections of 1948. Separated by more than 30 years, the two murders at first appear unconnected, but as the novel progresses Vasquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since.
The Shape of the Ruins is Vasquez’s most ambitious, challenging and rewarding novel to date. His previous novel, The Sound of Things Falling, won Spain’s Alfaguara Prize, Italy’s Von Rezzori Prize and the 2014 Dublin IMPAC literary Award.
Winner of the Premio Literario Casino da Povoa 2018
Finalist for the Bienal de Novela Mario Vargas Llosa 2016
Finalist for the Premio Bottari Lattes Grinzane 2017
Finalist for the Prix Femina
Finalist for the Prix Medicis
Translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean
[A] gripping novel by one of Colombia's finest authors -- Angel Gurria-Quintana * Financial Times * The most famous novelist to come out of Colombia since Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His subtle, nuanced fiction uses the tools of documentary reportage - historical sleuthing and interviews with witnesses - to steer readers through the nation's labyrinthine past * 1843 Mag (Economist) * Beautifully voiced by his serial translator Anne McLean, Vasquez writes with the elliptical feints and ruses of a story-teller who admires Joseph Conrad in his most delphic moods. The result is sly, subtle, captivating. -- Boyd Tonkin * Spectator. * This clever, labyrinthine, thoroughly enjoyable historical novel by the Colombian author of The Informers and The Sound of Things Falling entangles the two deaths and investigates the internecine politics that lay behind them. -- M John Harrison * Guardian * Assembled with satisfying complexity . . . it's his most ambitious and accomplished work yet. -- Daniel Hahn * Prospect * Absolutely hypnotic, a display of tense, agile, intelligent narrative, it takes conspiracy to a whole other level * El Cultural * With utmost skill, Vasquez has us accompany him in his detective work, proposing a reflection on ghosts from the past and the inheritance of blame, doubt and fear * El Pais * Juan Gabriel Vasquez's latest and most ambitious novel.... A dazzlingly choreographed network of echoes and mirrorings * Times Literary Supplement * Juan Gabriel Vasquez's The Shape of the Ruins is a highly sophisticated, fast-moving political thriller set in Colombia and an excellent read -- Alan Furst Like Don DeLillo's JFK-themed Libra, the novel is an intoxicating blend of fact and fiction -- Malcolm Forbes * Glasgow Herald * A masterful writer . . . Juan Gabriel Vasquez has many gifts--intelligence, wit, energy, a deep vein of feeling--but he uses them so naturally that soon enough one forgets one's amazement at his talents, and then the strange, beautiful sorcery of his tale takes hold -- Nicole Krauss Juan Gabriel Vasquez . . . has succeeded Garcia Marquez as the literary grandmaster of Colombia -- Ariel Dorfman * New York Review of Books * For anyone who has read the entire works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and is in search of a new Colombian novelist, then Juan Gabriel Vasquez . . . is a thrilling new discovery. -- Colm Toibin * Guardian. * One of the most original new writers of Latin American Literature. -- Mario Vargas Llosa
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