The Robber of Memories by Michael Jacobs

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So as Jacobs navigates the mysterious river and distant land, he also explores great questions about our time, lives and deaths, and about banality, the end of adventure...
-Guardian

Synopsis

Magdalena, a river that courses through the heart of Columbia, connects a violent past with the country’s uncertain present. British writer Michael Jacobs struggles to reconcile his love for the land and its people with the dangers that both still present.

Determined to eliminate modern conveniences from his journey, he begins traversing the river by tugboat. He makes an exception for a cell phone that maintains a sporadic signal at best, in efforts to keep in touch with his mother suffering from deteriorating health. Jacobs cannot help but notice the irony of his mother’s dementia and his travels through Colombian townships with the world’s highest incidence of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

While navigating the mysterious river and unfamiliar territory—both emotionally and geographically—Jacobs comes across Gabriel Garcia Márquez, whose own faltering memory shows a growing obsession with the Magdalena River of his youth. When Jacobs and his companions are apprehended by FARC guerillas who turn out to be as quirky and affable as they are intimidating, life begins to imitate the magical realism of Márquez’s signature works. Shortly after being released from captivity, the FARC camp is bombed by the Colombian air force, leaving no likely survivors among his oddly likeable captors.

Exploring themes of adventure, endings, and “the utter pointlessness of it all,” Jacobs can only forge onward in his reflection of the mystical river.
 

About Michael Jacobs

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Michael Jacobs was born in Italy and studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute in London. He is the author of several travel books, including Andes and The Factory of Light: Tales from My Andalucían Village, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. He lives in Spain and London.
 
Published September 16, 2013 by Counterpoint. 284 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Travel, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Robber of Memories
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Oct 05 2013

Jacobs had to navigate through all of it in the hope that his memories would somehow endure. A well-rendered travelogue and a profound excursion into what it means to remember and forget.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Ed Vulliamy on Nov 10 2012

So as Jacobs navigates the mysterious river and distant land, he also explores great questions about our time, lives and deaths, and about banality, the end of adventure...

Read Full Review of The Robber of Memories | See more reviews from Guardian

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