Friday, June 13, 2014

Impac Award 2014

We have a winner!   Yes a South American but not Andres Neuman.   This time it is a Columbian,  Juan Gabriel Vásquez  with the third of his novels to appear in English, The Sound of Things Falling, translated by Canadian Anne McLean. Vásquez is also the first South American to win.

According to the published information about him, 'Vasquez (41) studied at the Sorbonne, and in addition to his years in Paris, has also lived in the Ardennes in Belgium and Barcelona, before returning to his birthplace, Bogotá, to settle.
He became internationally established on the publication of his coolly assured, historical thriller The Informers in 2008, which drew on a marginalised Nazi witch hunt as its inspiration. The Secret History of Costaguana (2007; English translation 2010) is the story of an angry man who believes that Joseph Conrad stole his life.
The Sound of Things Falling is a hard-edged narrative influenced by the legacy of drug trafficking in Colombia. It is an emphatically contemporary work, independent of the influence of magical realism that has tended to define Latin American fiction.
In Vásquez’s book, the narrator, Yammara, a young lawyer, becomes seriously wounded when in the company of an acquaintance, a former drugs trafficker. Yammara has other problems, however, and becomes intent on finding out what kind of a man he has become. In order to do so, he must not only examine himself, he must investigate his country’s past.
Chance plays a central part in the story. Adopting the role of a keen anthropologist Vásquez pieces together various events, including two dramatic plane crashes balanced against the image of a hippopotamus escaped from the bizarre zoo created by drug baron Pablo Escobar in the Magdalena Valley.
The photograph of the animal shot dead by captors in 2009 reminded Vásquez of seeing the body of Escobar collapsed on a roof after the shoot out that ended his life.'

Sound interesting?

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