Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi: “With brutal honesty and poetic urgency, Ananda Devi relates the tale of four young Mauritians trapped in their country’s endless cycle of fear and violence. Eve out of Her Ruins is a heartbreaking look at the dark corners of the island nation of Mauritius that tourists never see, and a poignant exploration of the construction of personhood at the margins of society.”
The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies: “Sly, funny, intelligent, and artfully structured, The Fortunes recasts American history through the lives of Chinese Americans and reimagines the multigenerational novel through the fractures of immigrant family experience.”
We Eat Our Own by Kea Wilson: “When a nameless, struggling actor in 1970s New York gets the call that an enigmatic director wants him for an art film set in the Amazon, he doesn’t hesitate: he flies to South America, no questions asked. Inspired by a true story from the annals of 1970s Italian horror film, and told in dazzlingly precise prose,We Eat Our Own is a resounding literary debut, a thrilling journey behind the scenes of a shocking film and a thoughtful commentary on violence and its repercussions.”
Also this month: We’ll interview Virgie Tovar and talk about The Art of Waiting by Belle Boggs, Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein.
And we’ll announce the novel that Fiction Advocate will be releasing soon…
If you haven’t been reading Juan Gabriel Vásquez—the most sought-after South American novelist who isn’t, you know, dead—now is the time to start. His new novel, The Sound of Things Falling, comes out today.
A native of Colombia, where the shadow of Gabriel García Márquez falls on every other writer, JGV uses GGM’s favorite aspects of South American history—the bloody coups and bizarre miracles—to very different ends. The narrator of The Informers navigates the urban labyrinths Bogotá and Medellín to uncover his father’s scandalous past as a Nazi collaborator. The Secret History of Costaguana alleges that Joseph Conrad stole the idea for Nostromo—every little detail—from the biography of a real-life Colombian man whose son is determined to get his father’s life back. In The Sound of Things Falling, a pilot who ran drugs for Pablo Escobar is murdered, and his death reveals how narco-trafficking has contaminated a whole generation.
In Vasquez’s novels, history is always more private and devastating than it seems. His narrators tend to ramble on, clutching their chests and shaking their heads, melodramatically absorbed in their own sense of destiny. But they know, correctly, that they are doomed by events beyond their control. Each book is like a soul-searching apotheosis of Law & Order, or what Paul Auster might write if had interned at the International Criminal Court. The Sound of Things Falling has already won the $175,000 Alfaguara prize in Spain, and no less an eminence than Jonathan Franzen has come indoors from his bird-watching to champion the book. So that familiar sound coming out of South America is the sound of things worth reading.
[excerpt from The Sound of Things Falling]
[BOMB interview with Juan Gabriel Vásquez]
– Brian Hurley