Read El ruido de las cosas al caer by Juan Gabriel Vásquez Online


This novel, which carries the beautiful English language title of The Sound of Things Falling, tracks through recent Colombian history. At its center is narrator and protagonist Antonio Yammara, a young university law professor. In 1995, he meets Ricardo Laverde, a former pilot has recently completed a 25-year prison sentence. These two quite different men form a deep frieThis novel, which carries the beautiful English language title of The Sound of Things Falling, tracks through recent Colombian history. At its center is narrator and protagonist Antonio Yammara, a young university law professor. In 1995, he meets Ricardo Laverde, a former pilot has recently completed a 25-year prison sentence. These two quite different men form a deep friendship that changes Antonio's view of the world in which he lives. Editor's recommendation. (P.S. The Guardian called author Juan Gabriel Vásquez "among the most inventive and erudite of Colombia's emerging generation of novelists.")...

Title : El ruido de las cosas al caer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781616056117
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 28 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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El ruido de las cosas al caer Reviews

  • Richard Derus
    2019-04-01 20:15

    THIS BOOK HAS TOO IMPORTANT A MESSAGE NOT TO POST IT IN FULL HERE. Rating: 4* of fiveThe Publisher Says: In the city of Bogotá, Antonio Yammara reads an article about a hippo that had escaped from a derelict zoo once owned by legendary Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The article transports Antonio back to when the war between Escobar’s Medellín cartel and government forces played out violently in Colombia’s streets and in the skies above.Back then, Antonio witnessed a friend’s murder, an event that haunts him still. As he investigates, he discovers the many ways in which his own life and his friend’s family have been shaped by his country’s recent violent past. His journey leads him all the way back to the 1960s and a world on the brink of change: a time before narco-trafficking trapped a whole generation in a living nightmare.Vásquez is “one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature,” according to Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, and The Sound of Things Falling is his most personal, most contemporary novel to date, a masterpiece that takes his writing—and will take his literary star—even higher.I received this ARC from the publisher as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers programMy Review: To every rule its exception: This book is praised highly by a writer whose work I abhor, Jonathan Franzen; and ordinarily that means I will avoid the book so as not to read even a Pearl-Rule 46pp of something I'm bound to hate.Ha ha ha, rules. I liked this book a lot. Well, "like" is a weird word for the emotional resonance of the book. I responded to the book like a tuning fork responds to a smack.The fact is that I am a fan of Latin American literature because, like this book and author, most of the translated works are political and tendentious in their natures, and so are the authors. So am I. So it's usually a good fit.This story, which feels as personal as the blurb suggests it actually is, made me very uncomfortable, as I watched Colombia's descent into warlord rule and civil failure. I suspect I'd feel the same fearful anger if I were to visit Montana or Idaho or Wyoming, places that white supremacist/apocalyptic christian cultists have claimed for themselves. When nutball extremists take over a place, it's a failure of civil authority, and that is a crime. The net effect is the same as the drug cartels' takeover of Colombia in the 1970s or the current failure of civil authority in Mexico today or the Cascadian separatist movement here.These are not positive developments, they have tremendous costs in personal misery, and they are much to be deplored. Vásquez does his deploring by focusing tightly on the emotional and psychic costs of civil failure to a small group of friends, Antonio's friends and his good self. It's a sad, sad chronicle of horror and rage. And it's wrapped in beautiful words expressing solidly grounded truths:Adulthood brings with it the pernicious illusion of control, perhaps even depends on it. I mean that mirage of dominion over our own life that allows us to feel like adults, for we associate maturity with autonomy, the sovereign right to determine what is going to happen to us next.Translator McLean has done a marvelous job of making poetry in the English, and while I haven't read the original Spanish text, I can only say that she is unlikely to have made such handsome bricks without good, abundant straw.If I must pick a nit, and I must, it's that the structure of the novel is a tad more complex than is strictly speaking necessary to tell the author's very involving story. It's not hard to follow, but it's just artificial enough to pop the reader out of the narrative flow. That's almost never a good thing. (Okay, it's never a good thing, but I've learned not to make absolute statements because some little twidgee or another will come along and say something tiresome about my opinions and frankly I'm over it.)I hope, that issue aside, that you will all race out to your local bookeries and procure copies of this book. It's got something important to say to us in the USA about the incredibly high cost of allowing dissent to become dissolution. Colombia failed its citizens, and their agony only slowly passes. Mexico is mid-failure, and is much closer to us. And yet we allow our own idiot rebels a far freer hand in obstructing and undermining our governmental institutions and shredding our social fabric in the name of some illusory "right" they assert that they have to do this to us all.Read the book. Learn the cost. The price of the right wing's version of freedom is too goddamned high, and Vásquez knows it first hand. Please listen to him.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
    2019-03-29 16:36

    4.5 stars. Ha, damn. Who knew it'd take such a quiet and introspective novel to break my heart.I'm sorry because my fangirling probably won't help, but I found Juan Gabriel Vásquez's storytelling just wonderful. As often when I fall in love with a book - especially when none of my friends have read it, I've been feeling a little self-conscious and read a few reviews with low ratings. I... don't advise doing that, lol. In the end, I'm not able to acknowledge the flaws pointed there - too much telling rather than showing? - because I just did not see that. Shrugs.My experience with The Sound of Things Falling was :- opened the book- started reading- couldn't stop because really, how could I?!It takes a great author to lift us out of our every day scenery and make us feel like we're there without smashing us under the weight of too heavy descriptions. In that aspect it was perfect - anecdotes, customs, I was soon absorbed in this Bogotá and was involved in the characters' story almost instantly. I couldn't stop reading - even exhausted, I couldn't put it down, even at 4 in the morning, I had to know, to devour it.My heart in my throat, and the worry, the worry - the passion - brought me to this - albeit quite ridiculous, but not less valid at the time - epiphany when I wanted to yell that THIS WAS WHY I WANTED TO READ BOOKS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD (I did not. It was 4 in the morning. I am not an animal) My lassitude with US settings has never been so clear than then, when I wanted nothing more than learn again and again about another country, another history, even fictionalized.Juan Gabriel Vásquez's talent for weaving the threads of his characters' lives - and attach the reader in the process - forcefully doomed me to care for his characters, no matter how great my disagreement with their actions could be - and disagree I did. That's okay. I quickly understood the role I was meant to take : I wasn't there to love them, I was there to slowly unpack their memories and maybe, maybe, above the solitude and nostalgia, find a little place in myself for them.Spoiler alert : I did.Antonio, Elaine, Ricardo - every one of these characters is flawed and unlikeable at times. I can see how their behavior could alienate some readers but in all honesty I understood them, especially Ricardo whose smile I'd protect with my life (MY HEART). As for the plot, I genuinely think that we should go in blind - as I did - that's why I won't develop it. I didn't even read the blurb, only picked it because it was part of my translated books list, and I could not recommend doing the same strongly enough.I'd recommend this novel to every reader who loves family sagas whose secrets, no matter how trivial, shape the characters into these real people we care about. The Sound of Things Falling is not some action-packed journey getting us from point A to point B : this is rather a very character driven novel, a fucking train wreck where solitude and nostalgia pour through every page and I am not okay.Not a perfect book by any means - Elaine's Americanism sure annoyed me a lot, for one - yet if you know me, then you're well aware that I can overtake a few flaws if I am certain - as much one can be certain of anything, that goes without saying - that the book I just closed will linger. Well I believe that I won't forget The Sound of Things Falling anytime soon. Oh, no.TW : One scene contains cruelty towards an animal. Also, drugs.For more of my reviews, please visit:

  • Lori
    2019-04-11 23:22

    This is such profoundly sad book. A life stymied and stunted during the height of the drug wars in Bogotá. I will think about it for a long time to come.

  • Maria Thomarey
    2019-04-06 21:21

    2,5. Επιτέλους . Το τελείωσα . Και δεν ξετρελαθηκα. Είχα διαβασει τόσα πολλα γι'αυτο και είχα τόσες πολλες προσδοκίες , καμια ομως δεν πραγματοποιήθηκε . Ωραίο βιβλιο . Αλλα μέχρι εκει . Με ενόχλησαν που οι επαναλήψεις . Και η αλήθεια ,καπου κουράστηκα . Γι'αυτο εκανα τοσο καιρο να το τελειώσω . Βαρέθηκα . Μου τελειωσε ο έρωτας . Γιατι τα βιβλία τα ερωτευόμαστε . Αυτο λοιπον μου πήρε τα μυαλά στην αρχη και μετα παπαλα .ενδεχομενος να μην βοήθησε και η μετάφραση Readathon2017: 4/26ενα βιβλιο συγγραφέα απο την Νότια Αμερική .

  • Orsodimondo
    2019-04-09 17:15

    IL LAVORO SPORCO DELL’IO Le cose che cadono introdotte dal titolo sono un aereo passeggeri, uno di quelli grossi e affollati, che prima dell’atterraggio a Calì (Colombia) esplode perché Pablo Escobar vuole eliminare un avversario (uno dei pochi politici che non era riuscito a comprare). Si può immaginare il rumore che fece cadendo.Ma dal cielo, quello dell’innocenza, cade anche Ricardo Laverde, pilota di aerei che voleva compiere imprese eroiche come il nonno militare, e finisce invece per vent’anni in una prigione USA.Da quel cielo d’innocenza cade anche Elaine Fritts, che di Ricardo s’innamorò e Ricardo sposò e a Ricardo diede una figlia: arrivata in Colombia giovanissima come volontaria dei Peace Corps finì col legarsi ai trafficanti, ai suoi stessi colleghi che per aiutare i contadini insegnavano la coltivazione della marijuana aprendo così la strada a Escobar (convinti, come possono esserlo solo due nuovi amanti, che dire quel che si vuole sia come dire quel che si è.)L’ingresso della Hacienda Napoles, residenza di Pablo Escbar.Le cose che cadono sono le vite che precipitano, spariscono nel nulla, e fanno rumore, probabilmente un ronzio simile a quello delle api che Maya coltiva a La Dorada (ero sola, ero rimasta sola, non c’era più nessuno tra me e la morte. Essere orfani è questo: non c’è nessuno davanti, si è prossimi in linea di successione. Il prossimo turno tocca a noi.)A cucire tutto, Antonio, il protagonista, che parte da una storia privata, la sua, risale nel tempo, e va a incrociarsi con la storia pubblica. La storia diventa la Storia. (mi stupiva con quanto accanimento frughiamo nei ricordi, esercizio dannoso che non ci porta niente di buono e che serve solo a renderci impacciati, come quei sacchetti di sabbia che gli atleti si legano intorno ai polpacci per allenarsi.)Il volo Aviana 203 era un volo nazionale partito dall’aeroporto di Bogotá-El Dorado diretto all’aeroporto Alfondo Bonilla Aragón di Calì, Colombia: il 27 novembre 1989 un ordigno esplose 5 minuti dopo il decollo. La bomba piazzata vicino ai serbatoi del carburante esplose incendiando i vapori di carburante presenti in un serbatoio vuoto. L'esplosione divise l'aereo in due parti: la punta dalla coda, e le due sezioni caddero a terra in fiamme. Tutti i 107 passeggeri morirono nell'esplosione e altre 3 persone vennero uccise dai detriti caduti a terra. Secondo le investigazioni la bomba fu caricata all'interno dell'aereo da un uomo in giacca e cravatta, il quale era riuscito a portare la bomba all'interno della propria valigetta. Il candidato presidente César Gaviria, che Escobar voleva eliminare, non era però salito sull’aereo.Tutte queste storie, grazie al notevole talento narrativo di Juan Gabriel Vasquez, per me bellissima scoperta di quest’anno (insieme al suo conterraneo Santiago Gamboa), scaturiscono una dall’altra come acqua di fonte, in modo naturale, fresco, pressoché spontaneo, crescono, diventano narrazione collettiva, una storia genera l’altra, gemmazione affabulatoria. Pablo Escobar e il figlio Juan Pablo.Gli US sono i più grandi consumatori di droga del mondo. E così, quando Nixon per combatterne il traffico decide di chiudere la frontiera col Messico, i consumatori non fanno altro che rivolgersi a nuovi mercati, più a sud: la Colombia che allora si limitava a lavorare la cocaina coltivata in Perù e Bolivia cambia la sua storia e diventa teatro di guerra quotidiana tra polizia, narcos, terrorismo, politici, per lo più sommersi da dollari e immersi nella corruzione. La vita in Colombia diventa un rischio quotidiano, un pericolo 24/7, la tensione è altissima, sfibrante, deformante. Escobar diventa uno dei cinque uomini più ricchi del mondo (entrando nella lista di Forbes), il suo zoo è attrazione nazionale, e trasmette una lezione che è tuttora difficile contraddire: il rispetto della legge è il più grande ostacolo per la felicità (Gabriel Garcia Marquez).Antonio incontra Maya, una donna che al bacio rivela un fiato pulito e stanco, un fiato da fine giornata, e non credo si possa dire meglio l’amore arrivato tardi.

  • Mike
    2019-04-14 20:36

    The ambience of this melancholy novel often appeared in my dreams at night while I was reading this book. I am not sure how long-lasting the effect will be, but it has put me into a funk. This is a quiet novel depicting the solitary interior life of a ruined generation. There are frequent pleasures; I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Laverde family, urban life up in the mountains in Bogotá contrasted with the rural tropical areas, the beautiful geography of Colombia and inferring some of the broader changes that took place between the 1960´s through to the 1990´s. This is an enjoyable novel; however, there is something selfish about writing a book that leaves the reader feeling so alone.Update two months later: I never know if the novel I just finished will linger in my thoughts for weeks, months or if it will quickly fade from my memory. Two months later, however, when the emotional impact of most novels have long passed, I am still occasionally looking longingly out a window, imagining the beauty of Bogota.

  • foteini_dl
    2019-03-28 17:25

    Ένα βιβλίο που σε ταξιδεύει στην Κολομβία των 60-70s και 90s. Με τόσο ζωντανές εικόνες που νομίζεις ότι έζησες κι εσύ τότε. Ένα βιβλίο που σου δείχνει το αποτύπωμα του πολέμου που είχε ξεσπάσει τα χρόνια της κυριαρχίας του Πάμπλο Εσκομπάρ και των ναρκωτικών.Όμως, είναι και ένα βιβλίο για τα όνειρα των νέων που κόβονται απότομα. Για αυτούς που κάποτε είχαν όνειρα, αλλά (συνειδητά ή όχι) τα "άφησαν" στην πορεία. Για αυτούς που το παρελθόν το κρατάνε ζωντανό σαν να είναι το παρόν και ζουν μέσα από αυτό.Πολύ όμορφη γραφή και καθηλωτική αφήγηση από τον Vasquez, σε σημείο που δεν μπορούσα να αφήσω το βιβλίο από τα χέρια μου.Υ.Γ: Αν θέλετε να μπείτε καλύτερα στο κλίμα της "εσκομπαρικής" Κολομβίας, διαβάστε αυτό το βιβλίο και δείτε παράλληλα τη σειρά Narcos. Έτυχε ξεκινήσω τη σειρά πριν διαβάσω το βιβλίο και με είχε "χώσει" σ' αυτήν την περίοδο.

  • Elise
    2019-04-23 22:38

    I'm pretty sure the title of this novel "The Sound of Things Falling," refers to the sound of the book falling on the floor every time you doze off while reading it. The protagonist, Antonio, was neither likable, nor lovable, nor interesting in any way, and the same goes for Maya Fritts and her parents Elena and Laverde who were all flat characters. I looked forward to reading this book after putting my name on a long waiting list at the public library for it, as I love several Latin American authors and Juan Gabriel Vasquez was billed as a rising star. This book attempts to bring to life 1980s Colombia, the drug cartels and the people who lived to experience it firsthand. Unfortunately, the author seems unable or unwilling to successfully recreate this period. For one, the narrative crawls at a snail's pace until the halfway point, and from that point forward, not much else happens. Where does Colombia fall apart, collapse in flames (as a poem the author quotes in the book alludes to)? Where does the fear that Gabriel Vasquez mentions come from, besides one or two isolated incidents? This author needs to show more and tell less (first rule of creative writing 101). The past that Antonio and Maya supposedly share is one we as the readers of this book are never made privy to, not in any detail, and therefore, this book fails to hold together as a successful novel for me.

  • Anastasia
    2019-04-22 18:32

    Είχα καιρό να παρασυρθώ τόσο όμορφα, σχεδόν νοσταλγικά από μία αφήγηση...η ανάγνωση κυλάει εύκολα, ομαλά και ευχάριστα. Η γραφή του Vasquez σε μεταφέρει από τις πρώτες σελίδες στο κλίμα της Κολομβίας, στο μεγάλο υψόμετρο με την έλλειψη οξυγόνου και την αποπνικτική ατμόσφαιρα, ενώ η ιστορία εκτυλίσσεται με φόντο τον μόνιμα μουντό και γκρίζο ουρανό της Μπογκοτά. Μέσα από την αφήγηση της ζωής του πρωταγωνιστή φανερώνονται στον αναγνώστη σημαντικές στιγμές της κολομβιανής ιστορίας και παράλληλα μεταφέρεται ρεαλιστικά το σκηνικό και η επικρατούσα ατμόσφαιρα με τα αποτυπώματα του πολέμου και της τρομοκρατίας χαραγμένα στους δρόμους της χώρας. Ένα βιβλίο που συνενώνει σε μία μόνο στιγμή παρελθόν, παρόν και μέλλον...αναμνήσεις, γεγονότα και όνειρα."και λέω μέσα μου πως είμαστε πιόνια της παρούσας στιγμής, ίσως γιατί το παρόν δεν υπάρχει πραγματικά...όλα είναι ανάμνηση..."

  • switterbug (Betsey)
    2019-04-21 23:41

    "There is a sound that I cannot or have never been able to identify: a sound that's not human or is more than human, the sound of lives being extinguished...the sound of things falling from on high...that is forever suspended in my memory, hanging in it like a towel on a hook."In 1995, when Bogotonian Antonio Yammara was 26 and a few years out of law school, he met two significant people who would transform him, and in some ways, one would destroy him. A few years later, he met someone else that he hoped would help heal him. This is a story about the presence of the past, PTSD, grief, lives falling apart, bodies falling soundlessly. It is a story of love and hope from on high, and the crumbling and dissolution of that love and hope, the profanity of it when it runs out of fuel.Narrated by Yammara, the story is set against the backdrop of Colombian history, from the sixties through the nineties, during the ruthless, violent years of drug trafficking and drug wars. The story focuses on Yammara and the people in his life, and one tragic event that made time stand still for him while the rest of the world moved on. He witnessed a casual friend, Ricardo Laverde, an ex-pilot and ex-convict, killed in the streets of Bogotá. Antonio was also severely injured. This event consumed him, and he was unable to focus on his family--the woman, Aura, he had met and romanced during the same year as he met Laverde, and the baby they had together shortly afterward.What happens next is a journey to the past--Laverde's past--one that Yammara is compelled to understand. He follows a cassette tape to the Magdelena Valley, to Laverde's daughter, another walking wounded of Colombia's history, who is also stuck in time by previous events. Together, they attempt to fill in the missing pieces of Laverde's history, with the hope of liberating them both from the prison of pain and trauma.Narrated with eloquence, intimacy, and warmth, Vasquez' story resonates with a heartbreaking lyricism and poetry that captivated me from the opening pages. I am drawn to stories about time and memory, and about the past events that damage us and paradoxically heal us through our shared connections.My hat's off to Annie McLean, who did a superb translation of Vasquez' novel.

  • Elina
    2019-04-21 19:26

    Εντάξει! Πολύ χαίρομαι που δεν το παράτησα το βιβλίο! Ενώ με κούρασε πολύ στην αρχή, στην πορεία συνήθισα τον τρόπο γραφής και απογειώθηκα για ένα ταξιδάκι μέχρι την Κολομβία. Βιβλίο γεμάτο εικόνες καθημερινότητας στη μακρινή χώρα που συνδιάζονται και με καταστάσεις και γεγονότα των πρωταγωνιστών. Να που μερικές φορές ο ψυχαναγκασμός που με διακρίνει να μην αντέχω να αφήσω βιβλίο ατελείωτο, μου βγήκε σε καλό!

  • Mel
    2019-03-25 22:34

    Against the backdrop of an explosive and defining period in history -- Pablo Escobar and the powerful Columbian drug cartels, the declaration of the War on Drugs, the growing cocaine epidemic following the Viet Nam war -- Vasquez has set an amazing story that is immediately gripping. With only his words, Vasquez is a sculptor, a painter, a master story teller; talking to our senses, filling our heads with journals and scrapbooks, maps taped to newspaper articles, the recollections of smugglers flying their illegal cargo, broken hearted confessionals, drug fueled delusions, doomed hopes and loves,...and hippos. An intricate story of the interconnectedness of different people and different times, seamlessly flowing through a world of paradoxical beauty. .....In 1981, drug lord Pablo Escobar, the seemingly omnipotent and vicious head of the Madellin cartel, imported 4 African hippos from New Orleans to be exhibits in his extravagant private zoo. After he was gunned down in '93, the government took possession of most of the animals, leaving just a few of the heavy, and difficult to transport, hippos behind. The remaining hippos, which multiplied to a sizeable herd, basked in the lakes Escobar had also constructed, while the once resplendent zoo around them fell into disrepair. In 2006, a pair of those hippos, Pepe and Matilda, wandered away from the derelict zoo and into local legendom. The corpulent mates seemed to have disappeared until 2009 when they were photographed, just 63 miles from the zoo site, pastorally grazing in tall river grass with a small calf by their sides(dubbed Pepito). The photos sparked stories of marauding hippos terrorizing villagers, stampeding and devouring crops, killing livestock. (You might even remember the NY Times articles on the hippos, or the coverage on TV nightly news.) The government, who had many years earlier created a small panic by doing hippo-breeding-math and predicting a problematic hippo invasion, responded by circulating stories of the diseases the *Artiodactyla* carried. Soon,*WANTED: HIPPOS* posters went up throughout Columbia giving rise to the opposing game hunters and the *Save the Hippos* factions.....Antonio Yammara has just finished reading about the final chapter of PePe's life in a newsmagazine. He examines a photo of the *hunters* standing over the corpse of the nearly 2 ton black hippo [a squad described by the NY Times, Sept. 10, '09: "Even in Colombia, a country known for its paramilitary death squads, this hunting party stood out: more than a dozen soldiers from a Colombian Army battalion, two Porsche salesmen armed with long-range rifles, their assistant, and a taxidermist." the article and picture is archived and can be looked up]. Included in the article was a procedural description of the dismemberment, and the necessary on-site burial of parts of the giant animal, as well as plans to continue the hunt for the remaining members of this hippo family that fled stealthily (as hippos are wont to do) away as the larger hippo was being taken down. Beyond and expected sadness to the article, a familiar sense of melancholy spreads through Antonio. Even after his death on the Medellin rooftops, the echoes of Escobar's greed and violence echo from his grave...But, this is not the story of Escobar, or his drug cartel, or of hippos. ...The memories unlock in Antonio an emotional link to an old mysterious friend, and Antonio fades away again into dark memories, recalling the series of events that seemed to fall out of the sky when that friend entered his life, and lay before him his own tragic path.Unable to thrust himself out from a crippling cycle of PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder], Antonio is obsessed with connecting the events and people, and with answering some tenacious existential questions that have plagued him. The story begins *in medias res* -- Antonio at a point in his life where the past compels him to find answers in the future, and at all costs. The title is a metaphorical reference to 2 airplane disasters that tightly connect one time to another, and align the characters. And it references the global dissonance of values, cultures, and hopes colliding with failure. A tumultuous time in history, but as Antonio says, the grievous story is not exclusive to him or the times, "It has happened before and it will happen again." It is in a smaller sense, a story of the effects of the war on drugs and the people involved; the fruits of violence, greed, and poverty; and an era where the hopes of peace and love proved flawed and crashed and burned. On a larger scale, there is the universal theme of connection -- that the dissonance of the past reverberates throughout time and people. The human lives pinned against the "tide of historical events," are the carriers of the psychic wounds, and very often, the price of keeping the meticulous balance of the scales of justice unjustly falls on the fragile shoulders of the innocent... even the hippos. Vasquez burrows deep into a tormented soul and takes the reader along, then leaves us with this thought, ..."who worries about us when we don't show up, and who can go out and look for us." Throughout this forceful novel I subconsciously resisted associating with such heavy pain, both physical and existentially. Even days after I finished, I was discouraged, trying to organize my feelings and find footage. It wasn't until I got the rebound whack to the head from this boomerang of a book that I realized that I was so blindly affected by the book and was still crawling out of dark places... that's what I call being lost in a book.

  • Jill
    2019-04-02 20:41

    My, oh my – what an incredible novel. This is the kind of novel that made me brush everything aside and read voraciously, devouring every single word and dreading arriving at the end. Yes, it’s that good!Set in Bogota, Colombia, our narrator, Antonio, becomes twinned to an enigmatic and shadowy ex-pilot named Ricardo Laverde, whom he meets in a Bogota billiard hall. Ricardo has been imprisoned for many years for unknown reasons. (The refrain is: “He must have done something.”) Antonio is with Ricardo during a drive-by motorbike shooting that ends one life and destroys the other.What follows is one of the most harrowing descriptions of PTSD I’ve read as Antonio lives in terror of everything. The only salvation for him is to uncover the facts behind the life of the mysterious “ghosted” Ricardo and Colombia’s ignoble past. That is only the early foundation of this book. It touches on many themes: the tentacles of the drug business in Colombia and how one person’s actions have a boomerang effect on so many others. How it feels to live with a “terrible awareness of my vulnerability” – where planes fall from the sky, where bullets fell the innocent, where memories burst out of nowhere to transform and paralyze those who live through it.As Antonio reflects on the unsuspected intensity of his memories, which are “just now beginning to emerge like an object falling from the sky”, he thinks: “My contaminated life was mine alone: my family was still safe: safe from the plague of my country, from its afflicted recent history: safe from what had hunted me down along with so many of my generation (and others, too, yes, but most of all mine, the generation that was born with planes, with the flights full of bags and the bags of marijuana, the generation that was born with the War on Drugs and later experienced the consequence).”I must note that Mr. Vasquez does not place the drug war as front-and-center of his book; rather, his purpose is to display how things fall apart in a world that forces good people to relinquish their own power. As we fall out of the sky, only redemptive love can save us. By the end of the book, I had tears in my eyes from the sheer power of the writing. Kudos to Anne McLean for a beautiful translation of a must-read book.

  • Chrissie
    2019-04-22 22:14

    Interesting and engaging. Here the theme is the violence and fear that permeated all Colombian life in the 80s and 90s when the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar held sway. Who wasn't affected? How did this play out in the lives of Colombians, children and adults? Fear. This is a book about fear. It is about secrets. What is it like to discover your father is not who you thought he was? It is about how all families were caught up in the violence of those times. Arguments between husband and wife are pitch-perfect. It is about how the life of the country seeps into the lives of two families and irrevocably changes them. Good writing that grabs you. You never feel that the text is translated.It is interesting to see the role the Peace Corps plays in the events. I am wondering to what extent this is true and I wish there had been an author's note to clarify the veracity of the events. Mike Vendetti does the narration of the audiobook. Yeah, it was good.

  • RavenclawReadingRoom
    2019-04-03 15:23

    Trigger warnings: Drive-by shootings, drug trafficking, death of a parent, plane crash, animal cruelty. I picked this one up at work while stocktaking and was like "Uh, based on the blurb, this does not sound like something a high school library should have??" Colour me surprised to find that it's on the year 12 literature syllabus. It's not one that we teach, but we have a copy nonetheless. So I read it. And I pretty much loved it. And I'm not entirely sure I can explain why. The writing is beautiful. The pacing is great. I liked the characters, despite the fact that every single one of them is unlikeable at times. I was anticipating this taking ages to get through, but I read it in less than 24 hours. So yeah. I loved it. Just don't ask me why I loved it because the reasons are vague.

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-04-06 19:25

    There was just something about this book that was stylistically perfect. One of the most well constructed books I have ever read. The title is also perfect because things in this novel fall, airplanes fall, drug empires fall, an old zoo and estate that once belonged to Escobar falls into disrepair, a country falls victim to drugs and terror and lastly bodies that are shot fall soundlessly. The prose is smooth, the setting and the realism that was Bogata in the 1970's. The history of a country destroyed by drugs, the way the people who lived through this period are forever effected is poignant The characters are original and well-rounded. This novel also explores how memories can be triggered, whether they are reliable and how they can change and affect us later. Fate and death is explored in many different ways, as is friendship, relationships and love. Our very real need to love and understand. Sometimes we read about the drug empires and their effects, but this book showed how easy it is to fall in with one of these empires, their schemes that sound so simple at the time, but how seriously one can fall, costing them everything. Amazing story. This book won a Kirkus star and justly so.

  • Vasileios
    2019-04-19 16:30Ο ήχος των πραγμάτων όταν πέφτουν, του Juan Gabriel Vásquez είναι ένα καλογραμμένο μυθιστόρημα για τον φόβο για το μέλλον μας, για την ίδια τη ζωή. Κυκλοφόρησε από τις εκδόσεις Ίκαρος και προκάλεσε έντονο ενδιαφέρον μεταξύ των αναγνωστών και των κριτικών.Θυμόμαστε πως στην πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα συνέντευξη που μας είχε παραχωρήσει η Ντορίνα Παπαλιού, μας είχε επισημάνει πόσο το είχε ξεχωρίσει, μαζί και με το επόμενο μυθιστόρημα του συγγραφέα Οι πληροφοριοδότες (εκδόσεις Ίκαρος, 2015) που κυκλοφόρησε φέτος.Βρισκόμαστε στην Κολομβία, όπου ο καθηγητής της Νομικής Αντόνιο Γιαμάρα, πρωταγωνιστής της ιστορίας μας, σε έναν δρόμο της Μπογκοτά ακούει αρχικά το θόρυβο μιας μηχανής και στη συνέχεια τα θραύσματά της. Εκεί θα σκοτωθεί μπροστά του ο μοναχικός μπιλιαρδόρος και πρώην πιλότος Ρικάρδο Λαβέρδε, τη ζωή του οποίου θα μάθουμε σταδιακά και με τρόπο αποσπασματικό. Από εκείνη την ημέρα η ζωή του Αντόνιο θα αλλάξει ολοκληρωτικά, ξεκινάει η «οδύσσειά» του: Η ζωή του Λαβέρδε γίνεται τρόπον τινά ψύχωση του, στην οποία θα ρίξει το απαραίτητο φως που θα αλλάξει όμως και τη δική του ζωή. Είναι καταπληκτικό πως η φαινομενικά ασύνδετη ζωή του Αντόνιο και του Ρικάρδο έφθασε τελικά να την επηρεάσει σε κάθε έκφανσή της.Ο Ρικάρδο, 20 χρόνια πριν ήταν ένας νεαρός πιλότος που ξεκίνησε να διακινεί μαριχουάνα, κάθε φορά σε μεγαλύτερη ποσότητα και που στη συνέχεια με ακόμη μεγαλύτερες φιλοδοξίες προχώρησε στη διακίνηση κοκαΐνης. Απώτερος σκοπός του να κερδίσει όσα περισσότερα χρήματα μπορεί ώστε να αποσυρθεί στο ησυχαστήριό του μαζί με τη γυναίκα του Έλενα. Όλα όμως ανατράπηκαν.Τι ήχο μπορούν να κάνουν τα πράγματα πέφτοντας;Σε αυτό το βιβλίο απ΄ ότι φαίνεται θα πέσουν πολλά αεροπλάνα, και άρα ο ήχος αυτός θα έχει τρομακτικές συνέπειες για όλους. Σε ένα από τα αεροπλάνα αυτά, επιβάτης είναι η Έλενα, η γυναίκα του Λαβέρδε. Με έναν ανεξήγητο τρόπο θα πέσει στα χέρια του η κασέτα από το μαύρο κουτί του αεροπλάνου, την οποία θα ακούει συνέχεια· θα γίνει η εμμονή του.Το μπερδεμένο παζλ της ζωής του Λαβέρδε θα μπορέσει να το ενώσει ο Αντόνιο παρέα με την κόρη του Λαβέρδε, την οποία θα επισκεφτεί στο σπίτι της.Ο ήχος των πραγμάτων όταν πέφτουν, διαβάζεται ως μια ιστορία διπλής αγάπης, αλλά στην πραγματικότητα η μία ιστορία αφορά την αγάπη και η άλλη την ιστορία εσωτερικής αναζήτησης του Αντόνιο Γιαμάρα μέσω της ανασύνθεσης του παρελθόντος του Λαβέρδε.Συνέχεια στο Dreamers & Co.

  • ΠανωςΚ
    2019-03-29 23:27


  • Annalisa
    2019-04-14 18:31

    If this book were written by anyone but a Colombian, I would have begrudged the overused association of Colombia and drug trafficking, but because it was written by someone who lived there through those unstable years, he gets it right. It's not about the drug lords or the money or the corruption. It's about the people stuck in the middle, the vast majority of people who don't have anything to do with the war on drugs but find themselves as its unexpected consequence. I can't say how well Vasquez described Bogota because I could visualize it without him, but he put me right back there: locked up in our house because someone had been assassinated, hearing violent news with too many innocent bystanders on their way from work or the grocery store, seeing bodies on the side of the road or on the bed of a truck and wondering how and if they'd gotten tangled in this mess. I remember the unsettling sensation of not knowing if I could trust a guard, a policeman, a politician, but also admiring those valiant people who put their lives (and their family's lives) on the line to reclaim their country and knowing the majority of people were good and honorable and better than this stain on their country. That lack of oxygen when arriving in the cold but beautiful Bogota and that unbearable heat you could hardly breathe either (but your pores sure loved it) down on the coast. The reserved, aloof people. The rain to the point of flooding. The ranches. The trees. The bugs. Yes, this is Colombia the way I remember it. Colombia wasn't my favorite place to live, by a long shot, but reading this I felt a kinship to it and a longing for a visit. I could sense Vasquez's love for his beautiful country and also his heartbreak. My favorite thing about the book is the title. I keep thinking about that weird sensation of falling and not knowing when and where you will land, that there is no sound to falling--in that moment you hold your breath--only of things fallen. It is only in the aftermath that you evaluate the fall, but even then you can't quite grasp the sensation of falling. Through this symbolism, Vasquez uses Antonio to symbolize Colombia as a whole, snagged in the aftermath and unable to change the fall or verbalize quite how it has affected him, but affected in a deep, personal way.He doesn't just represent Colombians but all of us in that moment when we realize our lives have not turned out the way we planned and it was never ours to decide however blindly we believed so. As Vasquez so eloquently puts it: "Adulthood brings with it the pernicious illusion of control, and perhaps even depends on it. I mean that mirage of dominion over our own life that allows us to feel like adults, for we associate maturity with autonomy, the sovereign right to determine what is going to happen to us next. Disillusion comes sooner or later, but it always comes, it doesn’t miss an appointment, it never has."I didn't always like Antonio, but I found his story interesting. I had a bit of resistance diving into Elaine's story with a bit too much of her point of view to believe it came from his and Maya's reconstruction, but those are my only complaints. I highly enjoyed this book (and Vasquez's writing, but then again I tend to love Spanish literature), but I can't quite say how much I'd recommend it since I read it on such a personal level. I realize all books are read on a personal level through our own experiences, but this one more so than others. I think the book probably rambles a bit too much in the beginning, but I didn't mind.

  • Chris_P
    2019-03-27 23:23

    The Sound of Things Falling has a little bit of everything. A little modern history here, a little romance there etc, without getting too deep into anything. A good story well told but I couldn't help feeling there was something missing, a fact underlined by the size of the book. Such subjects need space to grow and mature and with roughly 300 pages, it's understood that the author didn't mean for it to become a legend, but a decent novel that's light and easy to read without being cheap. Despite its shortness, the characters are well crafted but the story doesn't really conclude and, in the end, I was left with a feeling of "and...?"All in all, I enjoyed it but only time will show what it's really worth.

  • Geoffrey Fox
    2019-04-23 22:32

    El gran mérito de esta novela es que hace palpable el permanente miedo que produce la narcoviolencia, en este caso en Colombia, y como trastorna las vidas de tanta gente normal que no quiere y no ha escogido la violencia. También pretende mostrar lo absurdo y contraproducente que ha sido "la guerra contra las drogas" empujada y financiada por los EE.UU., y cuyos resultados han sido la violencia desenfrenada, la corrupción sin límites, y la destrucción de intentos de desarrollar el país y sus recursos humanos. El narrador Antonio Yammara, nacido en 1970 en Bogotá, recuerda la peor época, la de magnicidios (ministro de justicia, el candidato presidencial Galán, y otros), cochebombas, explosiones de aviones de pasajeros etc., en los 1980, cuando el carismático e inteligente Pablo Escobar fue el narco más famoso, más rico y más peligroso del mundo (hasta su muerte por la policía en 1993). Y también recuerda como, cuando niño, llegó a ver el extraordinario zoológico "Villa Nápoles" que Escobar hizo construir para divertir a los niños. En 1995, cuando piensa que todo eso ha pasado y él desempeña como un jovencísimo profesor de derecho, conoce a Ricardo Laverde, 20 años mayor que él y recién salido de la prisión, y lo está acompañando en una calle de la ciudad cuando dos jovenes sicarios en una moto matan a Laverde y hieren gravemente al joven Yammara. Su búsqueda de la historia de Laverde y por qué lo mataron lo lleva a descubrir las ilusiones y decepciones de gente de esa generación, de cuando la marihuana cedió mercado a la cocaína y la "guerra contra las drogas" fue declarada por el presidente de los EE.UU. Richard Nixon.Las descripciones de la labor y las frustraciones de una joven norteamericana idealista, voluntaria del Cuerpo de Paz en la Colombia rural en 1969, suenan perfectamente auténticas a este servidor, que en esa misma época hacía un trabajo similar en el vecino Venezuela. La novela nos ayudará a entender no solamente una parte del sufrimiento de Colombia, sino también las enormes dificultades y contradicciones de la guerra contra las drogas en México, en Afganistán, o en cualquier parte.

  • Jason Coleman
    2019-04-20 15:19

    The early chapters include a rather chilling drive-by, the discovery of a black-box recording at a dead man's apartment, and the fate of a drug dealer's escaped pet hippo, and all of this is decent enough. Second half of the book includes a flashback of an airshow crash that strikes me as gratuitous semi-magic realism, and is followed by a piecing-together of the past by the main character and a mystery-man's beekeeper daughter, and is extremely weak. It reminded me, god help me, of the kids in Bridges of Madison County reconstructing the love story based on old photos and letters. In other words, it struck me as pure schlock. Moreover, I felt the book did not evoke Bogatá, the shadow of Pablo Escobar, or the ravages of time passing—although the author clearly meant it to do all these things. Saying Bogotá's residents are a little aloof and that the town sits at a high altitude is not my idea of bringing a city to life.Sorry to sound like such a grouch about it; I'm just very confused about what so many people are seeing in this thing. (If you want a book that combines the sweep of history with an exactingly plotted personal tragedy, I'd suggest Harry Mulisch's The Assault, which is a masterpiece.)

  • Λίνα Θωμάρεη
    2019-04-10 20:20

    4,5 Κολομβιανά αστεράκιαΉταν ένα νοσταλγικό ταξίδι....Μας μιλάει για το πως είναι να ζεις σε μία χώρα που τα ναρκωτικά και η διαφθορά έχουν το πάνω χέρι.... Πως είναι να ζει κάποιος στην Μπογκοτά του 20, του 60 και του 90. Πως είναι η ζωή των νέων εκείνης της εποχής.Πως είναι η ζωή της Κολομβίας εκείνη την εποχή.Μας μιλάει για έναν νέο με όνειρα που ξαφνικά κόβονται στην μέση.Μας μιλάει για έναν αλλοτινό νέο με όνειρα που τώρα πια είναι σκονισμένα και μας μιλάει για μια γυναίκα, μόνη πλέων να αναπολεί την ζωή της και την ιστορία των γονιών της....

  • Jean
    2019-03-23 17:35

    The Sound of Things Falling is the third novel by Juan Gabriel Vásquez. Mario Vargas Llosa has called the author, "one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature." Vásquez's work is a reaction to magical realism, in particular that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He says, "I want to forget this absurd rhetoric of Latin America as a magical or marvellous continent. In my novel there is a disproportionate reality, but that which is disproportionate in it is the violence and cruelty of our history and of our politics."The novel is set in Bogotá, where Vásquez lives, and is about the history of his home country, Columbia. It begins with the shooting of a hippo who has escaped from a derelict zoo once owned by a notorious drug giant Pablo Escobar. The incident prompts the central character, Antonio Yammara a world-weary young law professor, to remember the time when he met the mysterious Ricardo Laverde in a Bogotá billiards hall, a suppressed memory because of what was to happen to him. The memories were of maybe 20 years earlier, in the 1970's, a time of fear and violence for Colombia. The atmosphere is one of oppression and doom. The story goes on to detail the brutal violence which was commonplace at the time, as Yammara's life and that of his pregnant lover spin out of control. Examining both his own life and that of his family and friends, he concludes that they are all conditioned by his country's recent war-torn past. The novel is about "the complex relationship between memory and trauma, the benefits or possible penalties of revisiting the past." This is a theme which Vásquez has explored in all his novels. The author is recounting in fiction, and perhaps trying to come to terms with, an aspect he says most Colombians would prefer to forget, its years of drug-related violence. Vásquez says that no one wants to admit that anything was wrong. This novel in particular is hailed as a stylistic masterpiece. One critic has said, "Antonio's "auditory memory" is filled with falling: a rain of bullets; planes blown up in mid-air; assassinated human bodies; tears... In this hugely affecting novel, it is the silent suffering that haunts the most."I have read less than a quarter of this novel, and so cannot evaluate it properly. It is apparently on one level a compelling and original psychological thriller involving drug smuggling and plane crashes. But the thought of reading any more fills me with gloom.

  • Γιώργος Καμπουρίδης
    2019-04-17 23:19

    Η ενηλικίωση φέρνει μαζί της την καταστροφική ψευδαίσθηση του αυτοελέγχου, ίσως δε να εξαρτάται κι απ' αυτήν. Εννοώ την αυταπάτη ότι εξουσιάζουμε τη ζωή μας, που μας επιτρέπει να νιώθουμε ενήλικες, καθότι συναρτάμε την ωριμότητα με την αυτονομία, το κυρίαρχο δικαίωμα να καθορίζουμε τι θα συμβεί μετά. Η απομάγευση έρχεται αργά ή γρήγορα, αλλά πάντα έρχεται, δεν είναι ασυνεπής στο ραντεβού, ποτέ δεν ήταν.

  • Μαρία Γεωργιάδου
    2019-04-09 16:23

    Από την αρχή ως το τέλος του βιβλίου προσπαθούσα να καταλάβω γιατί έχει γίνει τόσος ντόρος. Ναι μεν διαβάζεται πολύ ευχάριστα αλλά, κατά την άποψή μου, του λείπει αυτό το "κάτι" που κάνει ένα βιβλίο να ξεπεράσει το μέσο όρο. Επιπλέον, το τέλος μου φάνηκε κάπως βεβιασμένο. Παρ' όλα αυτά, εξαιρετικό εξώφυλλο και γενικότερα πολύ προσεγμένη έκδοση.

  • Quothe
    2019-04-01 23:23

    This is a horrendously overrated book. The narrator is extremely unlikable and uninteresting. The author unsuccessfully tried to cram three narratives into one. This resulted in the story being all over the place and having pacing issues. It isn't even well written: Vasquez needs to learn that good authors should show and not tell. This novel involved large amounts of blunt "telling." Good writing isn't even being sacrificed for deep content; there isn't much depth behind what Vasquez is trying to convey to the reader.If you value your time and want to read good South American literature, pick up something by Gabriel García Márquez.

  • Antonis
    2019-03-23 17:25

    Μερικά από τα πράγματα που ακούμε σε αυτό το βιβλίο να πέφτουν είναι αεροπλάνα, σφαίρες, μια χώρα, μια φέρελπις Αμερικάνα, ένας Κολομβιανός πιλότος, ένας μεγιστάνας της κόκας, ένας καθηγητής νομικής, ένας γάμος, και, γενικώς, ζωές. Και όσο κι αν η πτώση ακούγεται σαν ένα καταθλιπτικό θέμα, το βιβλίο καταφέρνει να αποφύγει το μελό και τις ευκολίες του, δίνοντας μια πολυεπίπεδη και ιδιότυπα συναρπαστική ιστορία. Μια δυνατή λατινοαμερικάνικη φωνή σε εξαιρετική μετάφραση του Αχιλλέα Κυριακίδη.

  • Olgamat
    2019-04-01 18:40

    Σαφώς και παίρνει 5 αστέρια από μένα το εξαιρετικό αυτό βιβλίο, που πρωτίστως με ταξίδεψε στην Κολομβία που με την ρεαλιστική περιγραφή του Vasquez είναι σαν να πήγα πραγματικά! Κινείται ακριβώς στο στυλ των βιβλίων που εν τέλει γίνονται από "τα αγαπημένα" μου, αυτά που μου ανοίγουν νέους κόσμους και πόλεις, που μου μαθαίνουν αυτά που χρειάζεται να ξέρω για την ιστορία και την πολιτική τους και που μου δείχνουν πως κυλούν οι ζωές των κατοίκων μέσα από τα δικά τους μάτια. Ο αφηγητής Αντόνιο Γιαμάρα έχει στοιχειώσει το μυαλό μου με τα ταραχώδη γεγονότα της ζωής του που περιγράφει και με τον φόβο να ξεχειλίζει από τις σελίδες του βιβλίου, δείχνει πως μόνο όποιος τον έχει ζήσει μπορεί να τον μεταφέρει αυτούσιο και χωρίς να χρειαστεί να περιγράψει ιδιαίτερα βίαιες σκηνές. Ένιωσα μαζί του την ίδια αβεβαιώτητα και ανασφάλεια που επικρατεί στην εποχή του, φοβήθηκα όπως αυτός από τον παραλίγο φόνο του και το μετατραυματικό στρες που βίωσε κατά την ανάρρωσή του. Χάθηκα μαζί του ψάχνωντας να βρει τον εαυτό του αλλά και κάποιον που να συμπάσχει για να διώξει την μοναξιά αυτού του φόβου. Λυπήθηκα γι' αυτόν και για όλα όσα δεν μπόρεσε να χαρεί σ' αυτή την υπαρξιακή και μοναχική διαδρομή του. Συναισθηματικά φορτισμένο και με πλούσιο νόημα που ξετυλίγεται κάθε φορά που φέρνω σκηνές στο νου, δεν έχει σταματήσει να με εκπλήσσει ακόμη και μετά το κλείσιμο της τελευταίας σελίδας του. Με έκανε ακόμη και να δακρύσω.Εξαιρετικά δυνατό!*Επιπλέον, αξιόλογη η μεταφορά του από τον Αχιλλέα Κυριακλιδη στην ελληνική γλώσσα!

  • Tasos
    2019-04-17 19:33

    Τα ατομικά και συλλογικά τραύματα μιας χώρας και οι ουλές που δεν σε αφήνουν να ξεχάσεις αριστοτεχνικά δοσμένα σε μια αφήγηση γεμάτη πτώσεις, των οποίων ο απόηχος δημιουργεί αντίλαλο.Τα δύο αγαπημένα μου σημεία του βιβλίου είναι η συνάντηση του ήρωα με τη μέλλουσα γυναίκα του σε μια αίθουσα που παίζει τον Σιμόν της Ερήμου του Μπουνιουέλ, όπου αποκοιμιέται στο πρώτο δεκάλεπτο, και η κολομβιανή πρώτη έκδοση του 100 Χρόνια Μοναξιά με το τυπογραφικό λάθος στο εξώφυλλο που κατά τη γνώμη της Ιλέιν είναι "το πιο κουραστικό βιβλίο που έχει διαβάσει ποτέ".Πρέπει να ευχαριστούμε τον Ίκαρο γιατί πέρα από τα υπέροχα εξώφυλλα μας συστήνει και φοβερούς συγγραφείς. Και κυρίως πρέπει να αισθανόμαστε τυχεροί που έχουμε τον Αχιλλέα Κυριακίδη, ο οποίος μεταφράζει τόσο καλά την λατινοαμερικάνικη λογοτεχνία. Περιμένω με αγωνία πλέον να διαβάσω το δεύτερο βιβλίο του Vasquez που κυκλοφόρησε μόλις.