By the International Booker-shortlisted author - the extraordinary story of a life lived in the vortex of the twentieth century
"One of the great novels to have been written in our language"Mario Vargas Llosa
He thought that memories were invisible like light, and just as smoke made light show, there must be a way for memories to be seen...
In October 2016, the real-life Colombian film director Sergio Cabrera is attending a retrospective of his films in Barcelona. It's a difficult time for him: his father, Fausto Cabrera, has just died; his marriage is in crisis; and his country has rejected peace agreements that might have ended more than fifty years of war.
In the course of a few turbulent and intense days, Sergio will recall the events that marked the family's life, and especially his father's, his sister Marianella's and his own.
From the Spanish Civil War to the exile of his republican family in Latin America, and from the Cultural Revolution in China to the guerrilla movements of 1960s Latin America, not only will do we discover a series of adventures extraordinary by any standards, but also a devastating portrait of the forces that for half a century turned the world upside down and created the one we now inhabit.
Retrospective is a revelatory and unforgettable novel.
Translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean
An excursion into the dark and buried side of history where history becomes political faith - El Pais
A true international writer - New York Times
One of the great novels to have been written in our language - El Pais
A fascinating novelistic narration of the adventures of the family of the filmmaker Sergio Cabrera, that travels through the twentieth century and three continents, from the flight of his father and grandfather in the Spanish Civil War to his own participation in the Colombian guerrilla after a Kafkaesque and bizarre revolutionary training in China - La Vanguardia
It bites, it hits, it hurts pain, it makes sparks fly. Literature struggles to become life and life struggles to be told. Such an incredible book!
Written with an enviably full style and a superb control of the novelist's impulses - La Vanguardia
JUAN GABRIEL VASQUEZ is the author of five previous novels, The Informers, The Secret History of Costaguana, Reputations, The Sound of Things Falling and International Booker-shortlisted The Shape of the Ruins, as well as two acclaimed story collections The All Saints' Day Lovers and Songs for the Flames. He is also the translator into Spanish of works by E. M. Forster, John Hersey and Victor Hugo. His own books have been translated into more than twenty languages.