- Taschenbuch: 320 Seiten
- Verlag: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (12. September 2013)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1408831619
- ISBN-13: 978-1408831618
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,1 x 2 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 60.847 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Sound of Things Falling (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 12. September 2013
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A powerful, humane novel about a man trying to make sense of a war he didn't choose to fight Kate Saunders, The Times The story is compelling but through Vasquez's vivid prose (rendered brilliantly into English by the award-winning translator Anne McLean) it also becomes haunting ... A poignant and perturbing tale about the inheritance of fear in a country scrabbling to regain its soul Financial Times Compelling ... He holds his narrative together with admirable stylistic control as he shows a world falling apart and the powers of love and language to rebuild it Anita Sethi, Observer A compelling and original psychological thriller Daily Telegraph Excellent ... Vasquez follows Balzac's maxim that "novels are the private history of nations" -- Alastair Smart Sunday Telegraph A gripping novel, absorbing right to the end Edmund White, New York Times Book Review The narrative escalates, the mystery deepens, and the scope of the story widens with each page. This terrific novel draws on Colombia's tragic history and cycles of violence to tell the story of a troubled man trying to come to grips with the distant forces and events that have shaped his life Khaled Hosseini, Books of the Year 2013
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Juan Gabriel Vasquez was born in Bogota in 1973. He studied Latin American literature at the Sorbonne between 1996 and 1998, and now lives in Barcelona. His stories have appeared in anthologies in Germany, France, Spain and Colombia, and he has translated works by E. M. Forster and Victor Hugo, amongst others, into Spanish. He was recently nominated as one of the Bogota 39, South America's most promising writers of the new generation. His highly praised novel The Informers, the first of his books to be translated into English, has been published in eight languages worldwide. Anne McLean has twice won the Independent Prize for Foreign Fiction: for Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas in 2004 (which also won her the Valle Inclan Award) and for The Armies by Evelio Rosero in 2009.
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Set in Bogota, Colombia, our narrator, Antonio, becomes twinned to an enigmatic and shadowy ex-pilot named Ricardo Laverde, whom he meets in a Bogota billiard hall. Ricardo has been imprisoned for many years for reasons that take time to be revealed. (The refrain is: "He must have done something.") Antonio is with Ricardo during a drive-by motorbike shooting that ends one life and destroys the other.
What follows is one of the most harrowing descriptions of PTSD I've read as Antonio lives in terror of everything. The only salvation for him is to uncover the facts behind the life of the mysterious "ghosted" Ricardo and Colombia's ignoble past.
That is only the early foundation of this book. It touches on many themes: the tentacles of the drug business in Colombia and how one person's actions can have a boomerang effect on so many others. How it feels to live with a "terrible awareness of my vulnerability" - where planes fall from the sky, where bullets fell the innocent, where memories burst out of nowhere to transform and paralyze those who live through it.
As Antonio reflects on the unsuspected intensity of his memories, which are "just now beginning to emerge like an object falling from the sky", he thinks: "My contaminated life was mine alone: my family was still safe: safe from the plague of my country, from its afflicted recent history: safe from what had hunted me down along with so many of my generation (and others, too, yes, but most of all mine, the generation that was born with planes, with the flights full of bags and the bags of marijuana, the generation that was born with the War on Drugs and later experienced the consequence)."
I must note that Mr. Vasquez does not place the drug war as front-and-center of his book; rather, his purpose is to display how things fall apart in a world that forces good people to relinquish their own feelings of control. As we fall out of the sky, only redemptive love can save us. By the end of the book, I had tears in my eyes from the sheer power of the writing. Kudos to Anne McLean for a beautiful translation of a must-read book.
There's a lot going for THINGS FALLING: lush prose, a rich backstory, and a truly interesting subject matter. However, instead of getting lost in the prose, the reader often hits a brick wall--a points, this feels more like thinly-disguised journalism. It's as though Vasquez either couldn't decide what to write (fiction or nonfiction), or chose to create a hybrid of the two. (Most likely, the latter.) While the idea is interesting, the book may have been better if the nonfiction accents were either toned down, or enhanced (i.e., a solid work of nonfiction). As is, this is a novel for some, but not all. Those who sink their teeth into it, however, will certainly come away with something worthwhile.
"Falling," as some people have referred to it in English, is the story of Antonio Yammara, a 29-year-old, university law professor in Bogotá, Colombia who has always excelled intellectually. His comfortable, carefree world is soon blown away. First, a former student turned lover announces she's pregnant and carrying his child. At the same time, Antonio, who plays billiards to unwind, has sort of befriended an enigmatic older player. Ricardo Laverde has shared a few intriguing bits of his life, mostly in a woozy state over drinks. One afternoon, as the men walk along a street after leaving the billiards hall, they become the targets of a drive-by motorcycle shooting. Ricardo is killed. Antonio is seriously wounded--physically and mentally. For Antonio, several years of PTSD follow and a long journey to discover the secrets of his acquaintance. The story covers some eighty years of real-life Colombian history and the personal lives of several generations of fictional families.
To fully appreciate "Falling," it helps to have some knowledge of Colombian history and culture and of the tremendous impact of the drug cartels over the last half century. If you don't have that, Wikipedia can pretty well fill in the gaps. In 2011, I spent a week in Bogotá. I visited bookstores and asked for current best-selling novels (in Spanish). I read two of three books I bought and the third one--most highly praised by the sales' assistant--languished in the "someday" pile. Guess what it was?
I pulled it out yesterday afternoon and cut away the cellophane wrapping, typical in Latin America. "Falling" won the 2011 Premio Alfaguara, one of the highest honors in Spanish-language literature. Some of the most prestigious writers in Latin America sit on its panel. I could relate to Elaine, the idealistic American who went off to Colombia and to change the world in her youth. I went to Mexico. My story is less dramatic. Mexico's story today is Colombia's in the 1980's and '90's.
If you want to truly understand the global impact of "recreational" drugs in the U.S. and what the future holds, "The Sound of Things Falling" is a great place to start. It may not pop up in your dreams, but it did in mine last night.
The final minutes of Ricardo Laverde's life are about to have a profound effect on Antonio Yammara. As a young college instructor, Antonio's life is good. Or at least it's as good as it can be in the troubled South American city. He has a job he enjoys, a pleasant apartment, and the company of women when he wants it. But in the seconds it takes for Ricardo to die, Antonio's good fortune takes a devastating tumble.
Why did this happen? Antonio realizes that he has little idea of his friend Ricardo's past. With the intimacy of death weighing him down, Antonio embarks on a journey to understand, at least a little bit, how Ricardo ended up dying as he did. He travels not only physically, from Bogota, but from the present day into a long-ago time, when Pablo Escobar ruled the drug trade. But could his friend really have been involved in that dark, twisted and violent part of society? Antonio finds it hard to believe.
Through research, talks with family members, letters --- really, everything he can dig up --- he turns Ricardo into a living, breathing soul once again. Antonio gets to know the man as he never had a chance to when he was alive. The people whose lives Ricardo touched, the people he left behind, even the people he hurt, all help Antonio work through his own personal demons. And he has many where once he had none. In one instant, so much was altered: his present, his future, maybe even his past. He must figure out how to move forward, or everything he holds dear may disappear. It is a monumental task he faces.
For years, Antonio searches for answers. What he doesn't seem to realize is that they don't matter nearly as much as grasping what he already has. If THE SOUND OF THINGS FALLING does nothing else, it will teach you the value of the blessings you have and remind you never to take things for granted. Life can change in the wink of an eye or the flash of a gun barrel.
Writing with a mournful, unapologetic tone, Juan Gabriel Vásquez enmeshes his readers in a wretched period of Colombia's history. He takes an in-your-face approach and tells a story that is not pretty. You will come away uncomfortable, disturbed even, but you will have discovered an empathy for the generations that lost so much to the dawn of the drug lords. This story will touch you in ways you wouldn't believe possible and make you think. So suspend your light summer reading for this meaty hunk of a novel right now.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Vasquez sets his story over the course of several decades, allowing the reader to witness the slow buildup of drug trafficking in the late 1960s to the the ascendancy of the drug lord Pablo Escobar with his immense estate appointed with smuggler runways and a private zoo. We learn how Peace Corp members helped the Colombians to develop marijuana and then cocaine in both quantity and quality.
The story is built upon the relationship between Ricardo Laverde, the grandson of a famous Colombian pilot and war hero, and Elaine Fritts, a Peace Corp volunteer from the United States. The couple marries and becomes increasingly involved in the burgeoning drug trade with tragic results. But the tragedy, as stated, does not simply affect those directly involved, it plays out over the generations. The novel is narrated by Antonio Yammara a young law professor who befriends Ricardo Laverde in the mid 1990s and slowly unravels the mystery of the older man's past. By relating Laverde's story to the reader, he slowly exposes his own individual suffering and that of his country.
The novel provides great insight into the way the drug wars played out in Colombia on both an individual and societal level and demonstrates that even those with the best of intentions and the greatest of efforts are often blindsided by historical fate. Although the story spans several decades, it never loses its sense of intimacy. Indeed, the story is told in such a way that the context of history helps to illuminate the individual charcters and they in turn help us to grasp the consequences of years of prolonged violence on a nation.