A man observes the commemoration of the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances. EFE/ Luis Eduardo Noriega A./File
There are many phenomena that cause deep wounds in a nation. In the case of Colombia, one of the most painful is forced disappearance, a scourge that has marked the country’s history and has spread for decades. However, it is not the only country marked by this crime that causes pain for generations.
These experiences have also been recorded in literature; That is why within the framework of the International Day of Forced Disappearances declared by the UN, we turn to books to explore in their pages the path to this chapter that, although dark, allows us to learn more about the history of the country and its regrets. .
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Cover of the book “The Savage Detectives” by Roberto Bolaño[”Los detectives salvajes” puede adquirirse en formato digital en BajaLibros, clickeando acá]
“I don’t really know what visceral realism consists of. I am seventeen years old, my name is Juan García Madero, I am in the first semester of law school. I didn’t want to study Law but Literature, but my uncle insisted and in the end I ended up giving in. I am orphaned. I will be a lawyer. “I told my uncle and aunt that and then I locked myself in my room and cried all night.”
Among the great novels of literature are titles written by the Chilean Roberto Bolaño, who makes it to this list with his book Los Detectives Savages, a work that navigates between biography and chronicle and has been considered one of the most original books of fiction of recent years. In fact, it has been recognized with the Herralde and Rómulo Gallegos awards.
Here it tells the story of Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, two young poets who travel through different countries over several decades. In these two protagonists live the wishes of an entire generation who begin a great adventure after the disappearance of the Mexican writer Cesárea Tinajero.
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Cover of the book “The Armies” by Evelio Rosero[Algunos libros de Evelio Rosero puede adquirirse en formato digital en BajaLibros, clickeando acá]
“And it was like this: in the Brazilian’s house the macaws laughed all the time; I heard them, from the wall of the orchard of my house, climbing the stairs, picking my oranges, throwing them into the large palm basket; From time to time I felt behind my back that the three cats were watching me, each one climbing in the almond trees, what were they saying to me? Nothing, without understanding them. Further back, my wife fed the fish in the pond: that’s how we grew old, she and I, the fish and the cats, but my wife and the fish, what did they say to me? Nothing, without understanding them.”
The Colombian writer and journalist Evelio Rosero drew a fictional Colombian town, San José, which could well be any space in the real territory where Ismael Pasos lives, a retired teacher who has lived there all his life and now spends his last years in company of his wife Otilia. However, his days are different, as he spends them spying on his neighbor’s wife, who walks through the hallways naked.
Although he introduces us to his story with erotic overtones, Rosero opens the doors to a series of events in which the reader will navigate the burden of impossible loves, the dramas of daily life and progressively violence, amplified when the guerrilla descends to invade the place. With the figure of the deceased Marcos Saldarriaga, the writer presents the sorrows of a strategic place for the illicit businesses of the guerrillas, criminals and paramilitaries, all before the blind eye of a State that forgot them.
Cover of the book “The House of Beauty” by Melba Escobar
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“Karen grew up listening to vallenato, bachata and later champeta. Her mother, barely sixteen years older than her, was once the queen of the neighborhood, so she thought she would be poor, but she ended up pregnant with a blonde who spoke little Spanish and whom she assumed was a sailor. With that furtive visit of her love, the mulatto woman who shared with her mother not only her last name, but also beauty and scarcity was born.
When Melba Escobar decided to dedicate herself to literature, she knew that she would always do so based on reality and that has been the case since then. That is why many of his stories take place in real streets, mainly in Bogotá, as is the case of this story in which he tells the story of Karen, a beautician from Cartagena who arrives in the country’s capital with the same self-promise as many. “seek better living conditions.”
With a protagonist who arrives in a foreign city leaving her son in the care of someone else, Escobar introduces us through confessions to several stories told by different female voices found in a stratum six room. There he explores the high society of Bogotá, its social customs and the case of a mother who seeks justice and answers in a country that hides the truth from her.
These books invite us to delve into the stories, emotions and realities behind forced disappearance. From this art we can empathize with the victims, understand the magnitude of the problem and of course, reflect on the paths that lead to justice, reconciliation and peace.
Blood, sexuality and violence: a story told by a bricklayer that Manuel Puig turned into a controversial book“A playful sense of violence has developed”: Lorenzo Silva, author of “Púa”“Latin America has had a history of violence, But that does not mean that we are predisposed to be more violent than others”: Jorge Volpi