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Aspiring to be Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s successor

Monday, April 28, 2014

I  could join the endless procession of writers and readers who are paying homage to Colombian Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez who died on April 17, but since I’m planning a month-long tribute to Gabos in the SAS Book Club, found in the Sunday Art’s Section of the Sunday Guardian, I thought I would take the time here to introduce you to Juan Gabriel Vasquez, a writer whom many bibliophiles have been heralding as Garcia Marquez’s successor.


Peruvian Nobel Laureate in Literature Mario Vargas Llosa calls Vasquez “one of the most original new voices of Latin American Literature.” I tend to agree. 



The only Vasquez novel I have read so far is The Secret History of Costaguana, which features an interesting use of the narrator. In this novel, Colombian-born José Altamirano narrates a complex story of the political struggles that led to Panama declaring its independence from Colombia.



Alamirano presents a cleverly disturbing and sometimes funny story about how the Polish-born, English writer Joseph Conrad stole his story—along with the true history of Panama—and panned it off as the story of the fictitious country of Costaguana presented in Nostromo, which is considered by some literary critics as Conrad’s greatest work.