Internationally acclaimed for the virtuosity and power of her fiction, Laura Restrepo has created in Delirium a passionate, lyrical, devastating tale of eros and insanity.
Aguilar, an unemployed literature professor who has resorted to selling dog food for a living, returns home from a short trip to discover that his wife, Agustina, has gone mad. He doesnt know what has happened during his absence, and in his search for answers, he gradually unearths profound and shadowy secrets about her past.
On one level, Delirium reads like a detective story, as the reader pieces together information to discover the roots of Agustinas madness. But it is also a remarkably nuanced novel whose currents run much deeper, delving into the minds of four characters: Aguilar, a husband passionately in love with his wife and determined to rescue her from insanity: Agustina, a beautiful woman from an upper-class Colombian family who is caught in the throes of madness; Midas, a drug-trafficker and money-launderer, who is Agustinas former lover; and Nicolás, Agustinas grandfather. Through the mixing of these distinct voices, Laura Restrepo creates a searing portrait of a society battered by war and corruption as well as an intimate look at the daily lives of people struggling to stay sane in an unstable country.
Delirium already has been awarded the 2004 Premio Alfaguara, the 2006 Grinzane Cavour Prize in Italy, and was shortlisted for the prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger in France for best translated fiction. It is an ambitious and deeply affecting masterwork by one of Latin Americas most important contemporary voices.
I KNEW SOMETHING irreparable had happened the moment a man opened the door to that hotel room and I saw my wife sitting at the far end of the room, looking out the window in the strangest way. Id just returned from a short trip, four days away on business, and I swear that Agustina was fine when I left, I swear nothing odd was going on, or at least nothing out of the ordinary, certainly nothing to suggest what would happen to her while I was gone, except for her own premonitions, of course, but how was I to believe her when Agustina is always predicting some catastrophe; Ive tried everything to make her see reason, but she wont be swayed, insisting that ever since she was little shes had what she calls the gift of sight, or the ability to see the future, and God only knows the trouble thats caused us.
This time, as usual, my Agustina predicted that something would go wrong, and once again, I ignored her prediction; I went away on a ...
At the start it can be difficult to distinguish who is narrating the various segments of the story, as they chop and change frequently without introduction. This gives the novel an intangible quality that threatens to be hard work, but quite quickly the reader learns to recognize the individual voices, and the threat of the ephemeral gives way to solidly told streams of narrative that reveal, if not the whole, at least enough to see and understand the cause of Agustina's breakdown.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (985 words).
A Short History of Colombia
About twice the size of Texas with a population of 44 million, Colombia is located just south of Panama (map). ith a per capita GDP of $8,400, 49% of the population live below the poverty line. . From 1510 the area that is now Colombia was part of the Spanish empire until a nine year uprising led by Simon Bolivar resulted in the formation of Gran Colombia in 1819, encompassing what is now Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela. In 1830, Venezuela and Ecuador became separate nations, leaving the remaining territory as the republic of New Granada.
In 1886 Colombia became a single republic following the anti-federalist revolution of 1885. In 1899 civil war broke out ...
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