Monday, August 13, 2012

Necropolis

It's the review that I read in Shelf Awareness that put this book — Necropolis, by Santiago Gamboa — on my radar, but even so I'm not sure what the draw is — the title, the cover, the cast of characters ("including a muscular, tattooed ex-convict pastor of a cult religion, an Italian porn actress, a brave and honorable hotel switchboard operator, an imprisoned 70-year-old priest who knows where a treasure is hidden and a pretty journalist from Iceland with a penchant for shedding her clothes")?

I don't know why, but I had to have it, and I began scouring local bookshops. I could've ordered it online immediately, but no, I needed to find this book in physical space, hold it, weigh it. I did find it finally last week, not locally, but between trains in another city.

Now that I have it, I'm saving it for sometime soon.

Review at Full Stop:
There are a lot of stories to tell, and so Necropolis is a big book, not just physically, but also in what it contains: all the contrast of darkness and light; all the sex; all the death. All the violence and pride. All the tenderness and love. The day-to-day banality of existence beside the coursing adrenaline. While much contemporary experimental fiction concentrates on the failures of human communication — the liminal spaces — Gamboa seems more interested in how we finally succeed in sharing with each other.

Interview (May 3, 2011):
Here in the US I was just told that 2% of what they publish is translations. Two books in one hundred from all the languages in the world are translations, and the percentage of what is translated from Spanish language is even smaller, perhaps 0.4%, so there is place left for the very famous as García Márquez, Vargas Llosa and Bolaño and then a few others. But you don't write for that. Those are editorial issues. Literature is really something else, the text, the reader and that very strange relation.

Article "Secret Histories: On the creation of a Colombian national identity through crime fiction":
Yes, writing is an individualistic art — a writer relates experiences that are distinctive to him. But in a larger perspective, his observations and experiences are one part of a comprehensive social mosaic. And once transformed into a narrative, they form part of a common patrimony, available to anyone in the culture.

The importance of fiction stems from the defining power of the art form. A real novel is neither simply entertainment nor a passive experience. From the moment of reading, a novel enters a reader's life. So a book we have read deeply belongs to our biography as much as our bibliography. One life is a little life, but literature, through the silent pact that it establishes between writer and reader, multiplies the intense sensation that is living.
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