Almost everything I read about Colombia prior to my trip there was about the narcos, drug trafficking and Pablo Escobar. I have read Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but was looking for a novel set in every day, true life stories of Colombians. Juan Gabriel Vásquez was the first name that came up other than Marquez when I did a search of Colombian authors and I am so glad I decided to pick up his novel The Sound of Things Falling.
The novel is set in Bogotá and centers around Antonio Yammara. The entire story is tied closely to Colombia’s past and how it effected past and current generations of children. It’s a deeply personal story that makes you almost feel uncomfortable at times. When Antonio’s life changes after witnessing a friend – Ricardo Laverde’s murder (and getting injured in the process), the novel takes you on a harrowing journey through his PTSD, grief, the past, and lives falling apart. The tale takes you through Laverde’s past – one that Antonio is compelled to uncover.
A review I read said it perfectly: This is a quiet novel depicting the solitary interior life of a ruined generation. It’s intimate and eloquent. Heartbreaking and so lonely. One can’t help but feel melancholy after finishing this book. It gave me the story of Colombia’s people (in fiction) that I was craving. I’m looking forward to reading more of Vasquez’s work that is already awaiting me on my bookshelf.