A Colombian philosophy student is arrested in Bangkok and accused of drug trafficking. Unless he enters a guilty plea he will almost certainly be sentenced to death. But it's a tender longing for his sister, Juana, whom he hasn’t seen for years, that weighs most heavily on Manuel. Before he dies he wants nothing more than to be reunited with her.
As a boy, Manuel was a dreamer, a lover of literature, and a graffiti artist. Juana made a promise to do everything in her power to protect him from the drug- and violence- infested streets of Bogota. She decided to take him as far from Colombia as possible, and in order to raise the money to do so, she went to work as a high-priced escort and entered into contact with the dangerous world of corrupt politicians. When things spun out of control she was forced to flee, leaving her beloved brother behind.
Juana and Manuel’s story reaches the ears of the Colombian consul general in New Delhi, and he tracks down Juana, now married to a rich Japanese man, in Tokyo. The consul general takes it upon himself to reunite the two siblings. A feat that may be beyond his power.
Fans of both Roberto Bolaño and Gabriel García Márquez will find much to admire in this story about the mean streets of Bogotá, the sordid bordellos of Thailand, and a love between siblings that knows no end. With the stylishness that has earned him a reputation as one of “the most important Colombian writers” (Manuel Vázquez Montalbán), Santiago Gamboa lends his story a driving, irresistible rhythm.
“Gamboa’s strength is an apparently inexhaustible stream of narrative invention, an addictive ‘and then, and then’ quality that, at its best, erupts into flourishes of breathtaking poetry.”—Shelf Awareness
“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 The Black Minutes
Santiago Gamboa is a novelist, short story writer, and journalist born in Colombia. His English language debut Necropolis, published by Europa Editions in 2012, won the Otra Orilla Literary Prize. He is also the author of Night Prayers (Europa Editions, 2016) and Return to the Dark Valley (Europa Editions, 2018).