The Shape of the Ruins ~ by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

I’m kinda bummed with this last reading.  I was loving the heck out of it – the feeling like Robert Bolaño – but then somewhere in the middle it started taking long breaks from action – any action – and eventually slowed down to boring.   I did finish though.  Still –  I’ll have to give it a 5 (mixed review).  

The Shape of the Ruins 
by Juan Gabriel Vasquez 
2018 / 526 pages 
Read by Sheldon Romero – 17h 26m
Rating: 5 / B-:  literary crime 
(Both read and listened) 

The Atlantic: “The latest is a slew of Latin American neo-realists, writers who’ve fled Marquez’s mystical landscapes and, like Bolaño, landed in the hard-boiled, decidedly unmagical realm of the crime novel.”

The book opens in 2016 (?) or so with the arrest of Carlos Carballo for the attempted theft of the clothes Jorge Elizcer Gaitan was wearing on April 9, 1948, the day of his assassination.  Carballo is taking the suit from a museum in Bogotá, Colombia which is dedicated to Gaitan, a Colombian politician.  But it goes back further to the assassination of Colombia’s Gen. Rafael Uribe Uribe in 1914. It seems there are a lot of parallels.

The 1st person narrator, Juan Gabriel Vasquez (the same name as the author), is watching this theft on TV and commenting on the nature of the assassination, the riotous reaction of the crowd and city, the resemblance to the assassination of JFK in the United States, and the idea of conspiracies and those who follow the conspiracies.
The story goes from there to the ideas of life being snatched from a victim
(assassination) or being surrendered by the victim (a devastating disease).  There are conspiracies everywhere, historical and contemporary and Carballo is totally involved but Vasquez is intrigued although put off.  He finally succumbs and learns the tale(s) of it all. 

Meanwhile, Vasquez has his own problems with newborn twins who are very much alive and his wife wants help with them.  But that’s just a side story.  The main events are the assassinations and their aftermaths as well as a courtroom drama.  

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1 Response to The Shape of the Ruins ~ by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

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