The Shape of the Ruins (Riverhead Books)
When you read a novel by Juan Gabriel Vásquez you quickly realize you are in the presence of a master. The English language publication of The Sounds of Things Falling—a searing novel about the repercussions of drug violence in Colombia— was an instant bestseller and earned enormous critical acclaim, putting him on the literary map in the United States. His next novel, Reputations, firmly established him as “one of the finest writers of our time” (San Francisco Chronicle). In their review of Reputations NPR observed that he is “an even better technician than Gabriel García Márquez…line for line Vásquez is a penetrating force.”
Indeed, it seemed the rest of world already knew what American readers were just beginning to discover with The Sound of Things Falling and Reputations. Winner of several of the world’s most prestigious fiction prizes, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Spain’s Alfaguara Novel Prize, France’s Roger Caillois Award, Portugal’s Premio Casino da Póvoa, and Italy’s Premio von Rezzori, and published in thirty countries and counting, Juan Gabriel Vásquez is one of the greatest novelists writing today in any language.
The Shape of the Ruins is Vásquez’s highly anticipated, deeply personal masterpiece that is being heralded as the most ambitious novel of his career. For the first time Vásquez puts himself at the center of the story—the narrator is a novelist also named Juan Gabriel Vásquez—one that unspools a tangled mystery of political conspiracy, brutal assassinations, and dangerous secrets lost to memory. El Cultural calls it "absolutely hypnotic, a display of tense, agile, intelligent narrative, that takes conspiracy to a whole other level”; Times Literary Supplement praises, “Juan Gabriel Vásquez's latest and most ambitious novel.... A dazzlingly choreographed network of echoes and mirrorings”; and The Guardian calls it, “a clever, labyrinthine, thoroughly enjoyable historical novel."
Epic in scope and with prose brilliantly translated once again by Anne McLean, The Shape of the Ruins zooms back and forth in history, skillfully examining how one country’s violent past can continue to have a profound impact on individual people and on the world for generations to come.
Juan Gabriel Vásquez's previous books include the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner and national bestseller, The Sound of Things Falling, as well as the award-winning Reputations, The Informers, The Secret History of Costaguana, and the story collection Lovers on All Saints' Day. Vásquez's novels have been published in twenty-eight languages worldwide. After sixteen years in France, Belgium, and Spain, he now lives in Bogotá.
Photo by Hermance Triay
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