Posts in Books
After the Winter

Dominique is on a mission to read more contemporary writers in Spanish, and she couldn’t have started in a better place than Guadalupe Nettel. Born in Mexico and living between her native country and France, Guadalupe Nettel has written three award-winning novels and three short story collections. Despues del invierno, published in English by Coffeehouse Press in 2014, follows two parallel stories, one of a young Cuban man in New York and a young Mexican woman in Paris, until they entwine. Nettel’s prose is crisp and thoughtful, yet sweet and honest. It’s a mellow read, perfect for the colder temperatures in the Northern hemisphere.

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Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Black Leopard, Red Wolf was marketed as the African Game of Thrones, which I ultimately found to be a disservice to the book. Instead of high-fantasy, the reader is plunged into a hallucinogenic, violent fever dream chock full of African mythology, terrifying monsters, blood, guts, cunning, and adventure. The story, told by the titular Red Wolf, is piecemeal, episodic, and strange, and at every turn we wonder what story we are meant to be reading until it comes together in sobering and heartbreaking conclusion. It is the first book in planned a Rashomon-style series, the Dark Star Trilogy, and I can only say to Marlon James what Red Wolf says to his inquisitor at the end of the book: "Tell me."

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The Sound of Things Falling

Juan Gabriel Vasquéz has been lauded as one of Colombia's (and Latin America's) most important contemporary writers. Tasked by a friend to read this book before visiting Bogota, Dominique dutifully dove in, compelled by Vasquez's ability to weave elegant reflections about life and love within a multi-layered plot. Following a narrator who witnesses a new friend's murder on the streets of Bogotá and who then embarks on a journey to learn about his friend's past, El ruido de las cosas al caer helped Dominique understand how wide reaching Colombia's violence was, while also showing how resilience has helped the country move forward.

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