Sound of Things Falling (Vasquez)

Author Bio
Where—Bogota, Columbia
Education—J.D., University of Rosario; Ph.D.,
   Sorbonne University
Awards—Premio Alfaguara de Novela; Roger
   Caillois Award (France)
Currently—lives in Bogota

Juan Gabriel Vasquez is a Colombian writer and the author, most recently, of The Sound of Things Falling.

Vasquez studied Law in his native city, at the University of Rosario in Bogota, and after graduating left to France, where he lived in París from 1996 to 1999. There, at the Sorbonne, he received a doctorate in Latin American Literature. Later he moved to a small town in the Ardennes in Belgium. After living there for a year, he moved to Barcelona, where he resided until 2012. Today he lives in Bogota.

Vasquez is the author of three "official" novels — The Informers (2004), The Secret History of Costaguana, (2007) and The Sound of Things Falling (2011; U.S. transl, 2013). He wrote two others, which he prefers to ignore, when he was 23 and 25 years old: "I would like to leave this part of my past forgotten. I have this right," he has said.

Even though he recognizes a debt to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, his work is a reaction to magical realism, saying this with regard to The Secret History of Costaguana:

I want to forget this absurd rhetoric of Latin America as a magical or marvellous continent. In my novel there is a disproportionate reality, but that which is disproportionate in it is the violence and cruelty of our history and of our politics.... I can say that reading One Hundred my adolesence contributed much to my vocation, but I believe that all of the side of magical realism is the least interesting part of this novel.... Like all grand novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude requires us to reinvent the truth. I believe that this reinvention is to make us lose ourselves in the magical realism. And what I have tried to make in my novel is to recount the 19th Century Colombian story in a radically distinct key and I fear to oppose what Colombians have read until now.

Vasquez also writes essays and is a weekly columnist in the Colombian newspaper, El Espectador.  His stories have appeared in anthologies in different countries and his novels have been translated to various languages. Furthermore, he himself has translated works of John Hersey, Victor Hugo, and E. M. Forster, among others. He was part of the jury of 81 Latin American and Spanish writers and critics who in 2007 elected for the Colombian review, Semana, the best 100 books in the Castilian language in the last 25 years. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 8/18/1213.)

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