The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
A Novel

81%

8 Critic Reviews

Vasquez allows the story to become Elaine’s, and as the puzzle of Laverde is pieced together, Yammara comes to realize just how thoroughly the stories of these other people are part of his own.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

* National Bestseller and winner of the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
* Hailed by Edmund White as "a brilliant new novel" on the cover of the New York Times Book Review
* Lauded by Jonathan Franzen, E. L. Doctorow and many others
 
From a global literary star comes a prize-winning tour de force – an intimate portrayal of the drug wars in Colombia.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez has been hailed not only as one of South America’s greatest literary stars, but also as one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. In this gorgeously wrought, award-winning novel, Vásquez confronts the history of his home country, Colombia.

In the city of Bogotá, Antonio Yammara reads an article about a hippo that had escaped from a derelict zoo once owned by legendary Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The article transports Antonio back to when the war between Escobar’s Medellín cartel and government forces played out violently in Colombia’s streets and in the skies above. Back then, Antonio witnessed a friend’s murder, an event that haunts him still. As he investigates, he discovers the many ways in which his own life and his friend’s family have been shaped by his country’s recent violent past. His journey leads him all the way back to the 1960s and a world on the brink of change: a time before narco-trafficking trapped a whole generation in a living nightmare.

Vásquez is “one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature,” according to Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, and The Sound of Things Falling is his most personal, most contemporary novel to date, a masterpiece that takes his writing—and will take his literary star—even higher.

 

About Juan Gabriel Vasquez

See more books from this Author
Juan Gabriel Vásquez ’s previous books include The Informers, which was short-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and The Secret History of Costaguana, which won the Qwerty Prize in Barcelona. His books have been published in fifteen languages worldwide. He lives in Bogotá.
 
Published August 1, 2013 by Riverhead Books. 290 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Political & Social Sciences, Crime. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Sound of Things Falling
All: 8 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 30 2013

The catalyst for memory here is perhaps unique in the history of the novel, for Yammara begins by recounting an anecdote involving a hippopotamus...

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Edmund White on Aug 01 2013

“The Sound of Things Falling” may be a page turner, but it’s also a deep meditation on fate and death. Even in translation, the superb quality of Vásquez’s prose is evident...

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Jul 30 2013

The plot can seem overdetermined. I turned the pages with interest — Mr. Vásquez is a gifted writer — but without special eagerness.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jun 10 2013

Vasquez allows the story to become Elaine’s, and as the puzzle of Laverde is pieced together, Yammara comes to realize just how thoroughly the stories of these other people are part of his own.

Read Full Review of The Sound of Things Falling: ... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Rosecrans Baldwin on Aug 21 2013

The Sound of Things Falling is that unique detective story where we're more interested in the narrator's inner life than the mystery surrounding him. Vasquez has taken the psychological novel and made it political. Turned mystery fiction into contemporary history.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Marcela Valdes on Jul 30 2013

Vasquez gives us delicate renderings of a sonogram...of insomnia...He gives us the decomposition of a young man's family in the 1990s and the ripening of a young woman's first love in the 1970s.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Karl Wolff on Aug 01 2013

Mr. Vásquez weaves together memory and imagery into a seamless whole. Anne McLean's translation gives the novel a looseness, imbuing Antonio Yammara with a detached and damaged persona.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Hector Tobar on Jul 26 2013

Juan Gabriel Vásquez's deeply affecting and closely observed new novel takes up the psychic aftermath of that era, as residents of Colombia's capital, Bogota, struggle to make sense of the disorder and dysfunction that's enveloped their daily lives.

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