The Shape of the Ruins

The Shape of the Ruins

Book - 2018
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A man who was arrested for attempting to steal a suit belonging to a murdered politician from a Columbian museum sets of a series of public fixations on conspiracy theories, assassinations, and the country's historical secrets.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC,, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735211148
Branch Call Number: FIC VASQ
Characteristics: 509 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: McLean, Anne 1962-- Translator


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Jul 26, 2019

I had really enjoyed The Sound of Things Falling and looked forward to this new book. But I must confess that for about the first 100 pages I felt disappointed. Was this even a different book? I wondered. ... That question still lingers, even though I was soon won over by the author’s smooth writing (no doubt ably assisted by an excellent translation).
..The book unfolds almost like those Russian dolls, starting off with one assassination, which is then likened to another, and then another. There are stories within stories, each subtly but recognizably different from the other. The historical detail is rich, as I found when I googled to supplement my sketchy knowledge of Colombian history. This is not a bad way to have your history delivered, but Vásquez plays tricks too. He inserts completely fictional artefacts into the story, and makes references to his own fictional characters in his earlier books, as well as referencing other Latin American writers like Borges and, in a factual sense, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

This is a complex read, but a compelling one.

See my review here:

Jul 02, 2019

Very well written; powerful; relevant.

Mar 24, 2019

International Man Book Prize Nominee. The author acts as the narrator in this exploration of two assassinations in Colombia's history and attendant conspiracy theories. Along the way, he shows the impact of living in a country with such a violent history. Vasquez asks what is memory? what is history? Interesting.

Feb 16, 2019

This cat can write-- him being narrator, his character study with multiple, interesting digressions, and the "story" (conspiracy theory, reality versus belief, and Columbia history) is interesting. Classic Latin ambiance. HOWEVER, on and on and seemingly repetition is numbing. Remains to be seen if I finish the last one third which about sums up my take.

WestSlope_MarlyO Oct 23, 2018

Part autobiographical novel, part literary thriller. Amidst conspiracy theories, Vasquez dives deep into Colombian history dating back to mysterious assassinations, his own formative years during the height of Escobar's terrorizing control over the country to the present day. This is so much more than a crime novel. Reflective and haunting with a mystery that has you turning pages to the very end.


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