What’s it about?
Antonio Yammara is a young attorney living in Bogota, Columbia. While reading the paper one day he comes across an article about a young hippo escaping from the zoo. It takes him back to an earlier time in Bogota. A time of violence and turmoil. “And on one of those days, while following the hunt in the papers, I found myself remembering a man who’d been out of my thoughts for a long while, in spite of the fact that there had been a time when nothing interested me as much as the mystery of his life.”
What did it make me think about?
This book was a look back at the recent history of Bogota. It highlights what the violence of the drug wars (and Pablo Escobar in particular) did to a whole generation of young people coming of age in Columbia in the 1970’s.
Should I read it?
This is a beautifully written novel about the aftermath of violence. It speaks of a particular time and place but it is applicable across place and time. It is well-paced but on the slow side. I would recommend this for readers who are looking for a literary, thoughtful book.
“Experience, or what we call experience, is not the inventory of our pains, but rather the sympathy we learn to feel for the pain of others.”
If you like this try-
The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner