A brilliant novel about the power of politics and personal memory from one of South America’s literary stars, the New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Things Falling.
Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country’s most influential political cartoonist, the consciousness of a nation. A man capable of repealing laws, overturning judges’ decisions, destroying politicians’ careers with his art. His weapons are pen and ink. Those in power fear him and pay him homage.
After four decades of a brilliant career, he’s at the height of his powers. But this all changes when he’s paid an unexpected visit from a young woman who upends his sense of personal history and forces him to re-evaluate his life and work, questioning his position in the world.
In Reputations, Juan Gabriel Vásquez examines the weight of the past, how a public persona intersects with private histories, and the burdens and surprises of memory. In this intimate novel that recalls authors like Coetzee and Ian McEwan, Vásquez plumbs universal experiences to create a masterful story, one that reverberates long after you turn the final page.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
Political cartoonist Javier Mallarino’s powerful depictions of government officials arouse dread and loathing, but also a secret yearning to be the subject of his scathing caricatures. The autocrats see his work as validation of their own threatening control over others. Not without fault, Mallarino falls prey to an incident from his past. His murky memory of this event comes back to haunt him in a very manipulative way. The novel raises questions about the power of authority figures and of artists, also moral responsibility, hubris, and forgetfulness. For a country or an individual if there is no memory about what has taken place, then there is no history and there cannot be any truth or justice. Through his novels Vásquez continues fearlessly to examine his own country, Colombia.