Necropolis Paperback – Jun 26 2012
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Praise for Necropolis
"Santiago Gamboa and García Márquez are the two most important Colombian writers."
—Manuel Vázquez Montalbán
"Gamboa is one of the most interesting Latin American writers...[and Necropolis] is his most ambitious novel yet."—La Nación
"[With Necropolis] Gamboa proves once again that perhaps no other contemporary Colombian author more perfectly captures the rhythm of storytelling...A formidable writer who deserves robust praise for uniquely lively, lucid and passionate prose"—El Espectador (Colombia)
"[Necropolis exhibits a] magnificent use of language, accomplishing the difficult task of bringing so many different voices to life whilst making each one authentic and unique."—La Otra Orilla Jury
"A modern Decameron...an unusual and wistful novel."—La Liberté
About the Author
Santiago Gamboa was born in Bogotá, Colombia. His debut novel, Páginas de vuelta (1995), established him as one of the most innovative voices in Colombian literature. He has since published seven novels and two collections of short stories. His journalism appears regularly in El Tiempo (Colombia) and Cromos, and he is a regular contributor to Radio France International. Previously Colombia’s cultural attached in New Delhi, he currently lives in Rome.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The novel that follows is packed with non-stop action even as it considers some of life's biggest subjects: life and death, God (the Big Enchilada) and Satan, love and sex, truth and lies, poverty and wealth, memory and reality, language and the past, and assorted related subjects such as the need for solitude and for hope, the irresistible urge for revenge, and the inescapable violence which is responsible for the declining civility of modern life. Despite the extraordinary number of these "heavy" metaphysical themes and the sometimes allegorical connotations, however, Colombian author Santiago Gamboa, creates a can't-put-it-downer of a novel, filled with excitement and unusual characters leading unusual lives.
The first and longest story is told by Jose Maturana, a former bank robber and drug addict, whose violence has landed him in Moundsville Prison in West Virginia. After being beaten up badly by a visiting evangelical preacher, Jose becomes a convert. Eventually, the ministry they share becomes huge - and extremely wealthy - and Jose begins to suspect financial misdealings. The second story is the tale of two chess champions from Poland and Sweden, their marriages and later widower-hood, and their long friendship. The third story tells of hardworking Colombian Ramon Mela Garcia, a shop owner who is unwilling to pay extortion to paramilitaries, who then accuse him of collusion with FARC in drug-running. He plans a terrible revenge for his betrayers. Sabina Vedovelli's story is as graphically pornographic in its telling as her film career, with no holding back here in the descriptions of every move she makes to please her partners and her film fans.
Literary ironies and humor fill the novel, and reading this book is a total experience. I still find myself thinking back, trying to connect all the stories and themes into a coherent whole, and I'm still working on reconciling some of them. The novel's conclusion raises even more questions about the dark direction in which the author sees civilization moving. Often compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his choice of themes, Gamboa does not veer into Marquez's magic realism, but contains those elements within the context of a particular character's story and not the arc of the plot. Challenging, thoughtful, and loads of fun, this is the most ambitious new novel I've read in a very long time.