Leopard in the Sun by Laura Restrepo

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Synopsis

Imagine the Sicilian history of The Godfather rewritten by Gabriel García Márquez, or West Side Story reinterpreted by Isabel Allende, and you have a sense of Laura Restrepo's unforgettable novel of the making of Colombia's drug cartels.
        
Written in a unique, mesmerizing style of questions and narratives--with the immediacy and color of oral tradition, Leopard in the Sun is an operatic Latin tragedy, complete with chorus of local gossips and popular legend. It begins with a fight over a woman, when Nando Barragán kills his best friend and cousin Adriano Monsalve in a passionate, drunken delirium. As a result, the wise family patriarch separates the two families forever--the Barragáns will hold sway over the city; the Monsalves the port. Each year, on the day known as the zeta, and only on that day, they will have the opportunity to avenge the previous year's deaths--and each year, the women are not yet out of their black mourning when a new round of deaths occurs.
        
Nando Barragán sticks to the old way, leading his clan to ever-greater wealth, while living the simple peasant life in the village, womanizing far and wide, and trying to protect his brothers: the dandy Narciso, the innocent Arcángel, and the rogue Raca. Mani Monsalve tries to have it both ways, managing his family's
black market affairs while trying to be accepted in legitimate society and keeping his ex-beauty queen wife happy.
        
Every year on the zeta, Barragáns are killed by Monsalves and vice versa. The women suffer and devise increasingly elaborate strategies to protect their men. La Muda Barragán lovingly tends to the sequestered Arcángel. Alina Monsalve risks everything to protect her son from the primitive ways of his father's family.
        
In this fiercely original, vibrantly dramatic novel, Laura Restrepo explores what happens when a primitive people, at the margins of society, justice, and capitalism, suddenly control an empire built on sophisticated weapons and vast quantities of cash.
 

About Laura Restrepo

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Laura Restrepo is the bestselling author of six novels, including The Dark Bride, A Tale of the Dispossessed, and Delirio, which received Spain's prestigious Alfaguara Prize. She lives in Colombia.Laura Restrepo fue profesora de literatura en la Universidad de Colombia, editora política en la revista Semana y miembro de la Comisión Nacional para la Paz. Ha escrito destacadas novelas tales como Leopardo al sol; Dulce Compañía, que obtuvo el premio Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz en México y el premio France Culture en Francia; y Delirio, que obtuvo el premio Alfaguara. Actualmente vive en Bogotá, Colombia.
 
Published January 1, 1999 by Crown Publishers, Inc. 1999. 256 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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It’s an amusingly over-the-top tale about the “chain of blood” that links together several generations of the rival Barrag†n and Monsalve families: a bitter ongoing feud that spawns epic sexual rivalries and brutal assassinations, and features such boldly drawn characters as businesslike crime bo...

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Publishers Weekly

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In a surge of drunken rage, he impulsively kills his beloved cousin, Adriano Monsalve, over the attentions of a widow, and immediately ""knows he has entered the fathomless domain of fate."" Although he desires penance, he is informed in a dream that his rash act means a terrible new existence fo...

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