An author visiting Jerusalem is pulled into a stranger’s mysterious death in this gripping, moving novel by one of Colombia’s major literary voices.
Winner of the 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 war rages outside, 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 he has taken his own life. But there are a few loose ends that don’t support the suicide hypothesis, and the author is moved by Maturana’s life story to discover the truth about his death, in a literary mystery from “one of the most interesting Latin American writers . . . his most ambitious novel yet” (La Nación).
“A modern Decameron.” —La Liberté