Sunday, July 15, 2012

This Latin American Phenomenon Is At Last Available In English

Winner of the prestigious Otra Orilla Award 

An unnamed author attends the International Congress of Biography and Memory in Jerusalem. He listens to a series of extraordinary life stories, but it is Jose Maturana--evangelical pastor, recovering drug addict, ex-con--with his captivating tale of redemption at the hands of a charismatic tattooed messiah from Miami, who fascinates the author more than any other. Hours after his stirring presentation to a rapt audience, Maturana is found dead in his hotel room. The narrator, moved by Maturana's life story to discover the truth about his death, will lead an investigation that turns the entire plot of this chimerical novel on its end. 

Publishers Weekly says:
"The International Conference on Biography and Memory is being held in Jerusalem, and our nameless hero, "a working writer," is honored to be invited after a hiatus from writing due to illness. When he arrives, he is shocked to find the city torn apart by war: 'Facing us was a labyrinth of asymmetrical streets, pockmarked with holes and filled with steaming garbage. The houses, cubes of stone the color of sand, bore the marks of grenades and mortars on their walls.' His experience only grows more intense as he sets out to find the truth behind the sudden death of charismatic conference speaker José Maturana. The structure of Gamboa's modern-day literary thriller ushers readers directly into the action--the protagonist's point of view is intertwined with Maturana's narrative in the first section, while the second portion comprises three other conference speakers' lectures, each of which is a richly told story in its own right. Finally, the last part of the novel returns to the writer's quest to solve Maturana's mysterious death. The Colombian-born Gamboa's work calls to mind Roberto Bolaño in its masterful suspense, complex literary references, and frank depiction of violence, sex, and drugs, but this novel stands on its own as a masterwork of storytelling."

1 comment:

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