WINNER of the 2009 La Otra Orilla Literary Award
Upon recovering from a prolonged illness, an author is invited to a literary gathering in Jerusalem that turns out to be a most unusual affair. In the conference rooms of a luxury hotel, as bombs fall outside, at times too close for comfort, he listens to a series of extraordinary life stories: the saga of a chess-playing duo, the tale of an Italian porn star with a socialist agenda, the drama of a Colombian industrialist who has been waging a longstanding battle with local paramilitaries, and many more. But it is José Maturana—evangelical pastor, recovering drug addict, ex-con—with his story of redemption at the hands of a charismatic tattooed messiah from Miami, Florida, who fascinates the author more than any other. Maturana’s language is potent and vital, and his story captivating. Hours after his stirring presentation to a rapt audience, however, Maturana is found dead in his hotel room. At first it seems likely that Maturana has taken his own life and everybody seems willing to accept this version of the story. But there are a few loose ends that don’t support the suicide hypothesis, and the author-invitee, moved by Maturana’s life story to discover the truth about his death, will lead an investigation that turns the entire plot of this chimerical novel on its end. In Necropolis, Santiago Gamboa displays the talent and inventiveness that have earned him a reputation as one of the leading figures in his generation of Latin American authors.
"Each novel by Santiago Gamboa is at the forefront of the best Latin American novels. Gamboa dismantles the legacy of Chandler and Hammett, adapting it to the craggy environs of Colombia, and adds to it a tireless sense of ethics. His novels revitalize a genre that we thought could do no more."—Martín Solares, author of Cloralex Planet and The Black Minutes
Novelist, short story writer, and journalist, Santiago Gamboa was born in Colombia in 1965. His American debut, published by Europa in 2012, was the novel Necropolis, winner of the Otra Orilla Literary Prize. He is also the author of Night Prayers (Europa, 2016) and Return to the Dark Valley (Europa 2018).