BookBrowse Reviews Delirium by Laura Restrepo

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A Novel

by Laura Restrepo

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  • First Published:
    Apr 2007, 336 pages
    Mar 2008, 336 pages

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A passionate, lyrical, devastating tale of eros and insanity set against the backdrop of 1980s Colombia

 Delirium, Restrepo's sixth novel to be published in English (the translation is by Natasha Wimmer who also translated The Savage Detectives), has already won the 2004 Premio Alfaguara in Spain, the 2006 Grinzane Cavour Prize in Italy, and was short listed for the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (best translated fiction).  The story is told from various points of view; we hear from Aguila, Agustina's mild-mannered "husband", who returns home to find his wife deranged; we also hear from the gangster Midas, Agustina's former lover; we travel back two generations to see through the eyes of Agustina's German grandfather, Nicolás; and, of course, we hear Agustina's story, sometimes told in the first person, sometimes in the third, as she drifts between the past and present. 

The setting is Bogota, capital of Colombia, in the early 1980s...

About Pablo Escobar (1949 - 1993)
Drug lord Pablo Escobar began his life of crime while still in school; by the early 1970s he was involved in the cocaine trade.  Together with a half dozen other "entrepreneurs", Escobar formed the infamous Medellin Cartel that eventually controlled 80% of the cocaine shipped to the USA.  This made him one of the wealthiest, most powerful, and most violent criminals of all-time (Fortune magazine named him one of the ten richest people on earth).  According to, "his rise to infamy cost the lives of three Colombian presidential candidates, an attorney general, a justice minister, more than 200 judges, dozens of journalists, and over 1,000 police officers".  Escobar was shot to death by members of a special police unit in 1993.

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