The most ambitious and rewarding novel to date by the acclaimed Colombian author
The Shape of the Ruins by the Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez, whose recent novel, the best-selling Sound of Things Falling won Spain's Alfaguara Prize, Italy's Von Rezzori Prize and the 2014 Dublin IMPAC literary Award, was published to acclaim in Colombia last year and has just appeared in Spain.
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 García Márquez's General Buendia in One Hundred Years of Solitude, and of the charismatic Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, 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 Vásquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since. The Shape of the Ruins is Vásquez's most ambitious, challenging and rewarding novel to date.
Juan Gabriel Vásquez was born in Bogotá in 1973. His previous books include the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner and international bestseller The Sound of Things Falling, as well as The Informers, The Secret History of Costaguana and Reputations, which was awarded the Royal Spanish Academy Prize. He has translated works by Joseph Conrad, John Dos Passos and Victor Hugo, amongst others. His books have been translated in twenty-eight languages and forty countries. In 2016 he was made Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et de Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. After sixteen years in France, Belgium and Spain, he now lives in Bogotá.
One of the most original new writers of Latin American Literature. — Mario Vargas Llosa
For anyone who has read the entire works of Gabriel García Márquez and is in search of a new Colombian novelist, then Juan Gabriel Vásquez . . . is a thrilling new discovery. — Colm Tóibín, Guardian.
A masterful writer . . . Juan Gabriel Vásquez 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
Like Don DeLillo's JFK-themed Libra, the novel is an intoxicating blend of fact and fiction — Malcolm Forbes, Glasgow Herald
Juan Gabriel Vásquez's The Shape of the Ruins is a highly sophisticated, fast-moving political thriller set in Colombia and an excellent read — Alan Furst
Juan Gabriel Vásquez's latest and most ambitious novel.... A dazzlingly choreographed network of echoes and mirrorings — Times Literary Supplement
With utmost skill, Vásquez 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
Absolutely hypnotic, a display of tense, agile, intelligent narrative, it takes conspiracy to a whole other level — El Cultural
Assembled with satisfying complexity . . . it's his most ambitious and accomplished work yet. — Daniel Hahn, Prospect
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
Beautifully voiced by his serial translator Anne McLean, Vásquez 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.
The most famous novelist to come out of Colombia since Gabriel García Márquez. 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)