The Shape of the Ruins
Author: Juan Gabriel Vasquez
Translator: Anne McLean
Original language: Spanish
Published by: MacLehose, May 2018
The Shape of the Ruins by the Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vasquez, whose recent novel, the best-selling Sound of Things Falling won Spain's Alfaguara Prize, Italy's Von Rezzori Prize and the 2014 Dublin IMPAC literary Award, was published to acclaim in Colombia last year and has just appeared in Spain.
It takes the form of personal and formal investigations into two political assassinations - the murders of Rafael Uribe Uribe in 1914, the man who inspired Garcia Marquez's General Buendia in One Hundred Years of Solitude, and of the charismatic Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the man who might have been Colombia's J.F.K., gunned down on the brink of success in the presidential elections of 1948. Separated by more than 30 years, the two murders at first appear unconnected, but as the novel progresses Vasquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since. The Shape of the Ruins is Vasquez's most ambitious, challenging and rewarding novel to date.