Way Far Away is the Colombian master Evelio Rosero’s ninth novel and has been billed by his Spanish publisher as “one of the most important Colombian works of fiction written in the past two decades.” In search of his missing granddaughter Rosaura, an old man named Jeremías Andrade arrives in a town strewn with dead mice and overflowing with mist and fog. The owner of a rotten hotel and the dwarf who always accompanies her; children who play with sinister soccer balls and observe life from the ruined rooftops; an albino named Bonifacio who appears and disappears like a ghost; the cart driver whose only task is to pick up the mice piling up night after night; the charitable nuns in a nearby convent—these are the characters that converge in a vigil turned nightmare. Jeremías’s wanderings reveal a haunting truth, and a possibility of reunion in a place where all is lost, a forever-gaping abyss.
I was alone when someone pounded on my door. Who could it be?
So begins Toño the Infallible, Evelio Rosero’s gripping novel about an intense relationship between a writer and a sociopath. Visited by his friend (a kind of Colombian Rasputin) seemingly at the verge of death, the writer, Eri, looks back on the arc of both of their lives. Unique in both its tone and its structure, the novel takes us from their student days (school fights, playground revelations, and an unforgettable trip to the seaside) into their adult years, involving rumors of a hippie cult and a bizarre raucous theater exhibit of history’s most violent crimes. Toño uses his charm and wealth—as well as reputed magical powers—to manipulate others, but it isn’t until the end of the book that the devastating truth is revealed—and how true is it? Reminiscent of the fiction of Roberto Bolaño and the films of Alfonso Cuarón, this brilliant novel takes us into the heart of his country’s darkness, creating an unforgettable portrait of a society where humanity still endures, despite its brutality.
The renowned Colombian writer Evelio Rosero has never been one to shy away from the darker aspects of his nation’s history and society. His magnificent novel Stranger to the Moon portrays a world that seems to exist outside time and place but taps into the dark myths and collective subconscious of his country, with its harrowing inequality and violence. A parable of pointed social criticism, with naked humans imprisoned in a house in order to serve the needs of “the vicious clothed ones,” the novel describes what ensues when a single “naked one” privately rebels, risking his own death and that of his fellow prisoners. Each subsequent section of the book adds further layers to the ritualistic and bizarre social order inhabited by its characters. Insects and reptiles are trained as agents and spies against the naked ones, and only the most fortunate humans manage to reach old age by taking up strategic spots near the kitchens and grabbing for the fiercely contested food. Stranger to the Moon is a brave, powerful, and distinctive novel by a writer who arguably holds the strongest claim to the title of Colombia’s greatest living author.