El Incendio de abril (April fire)

Alfaguara, 360 p.

Friday, 9th of April 1948. Jorge Eliecer Gaitán has been murder. From every corner of the Bogotá, voices rise to comment on the event that turned the capital into a chaos of pain and fury. As word of mouth spreads out, it shapes up the map of a blazing city.

This dreadful event known as the “Bogotazo” has had a strong impact on every Colombian citizen. Three main characters and a multitude of other women recount iwith awe and distress one of the most painful moments of the history of their country, reminding us that Colombia lives in a perpetual state of war, wich sometimes blos up and sometimes remains dormant.

Both books are regardeed as masterpieces of contemporary Colombian littérature.

Pequeños combatientes

A little girl and her younger brother, the children of militants at the time of the dictatorship of the 1970’s, invent all sorts of strategies to conceal the fact that “The Worst” has happened and that their parents have “disappeared”.

El cielo no existe

Alfaguara, 2013. 256 p.

Cala, a fifty-year-old unmarried journalist, Cala suddenly finds herself in charge of a baby. Sabrina – the girl who takes care of her authoritarian old mother – literally dumped it upon her before vanishing into thin air. With an unstable life but an always renewed spirit, Cala takes care of the baby while she starts looking for Sabrina, just as her old high-school love shows up out of the blue.
With Buenos Aires as a disconcerting backdrop, where poverty and frivolousness live alongside, this middle-class woman will be confronted with a harsh world which imposes upon her its daily presence: prostitution, human trade and drugs, poverty, dilapidated hospitals, suburban slums.
Inés Fernández Moreno shows once again an unmistakable skill for creating endearing characters, and for addressing the most awkward situations with humour and bewildered irony. A real page-turner with a bittersweet happy ending, El Cielo no existe is a wonderful sociological comedy combined with a thriller.

Rights sold: France (Ed. JC Lattès)

Sobrevivientes (Survivors)

Clarín / Alfaguara, 2012, 280 p.
Some twenty-five years after the war in the Falklands War, the frozen body of a Argentinian soldier who fought aboard the cruiser General Belgrano resurfaces in melting ice in the Antarctica . Doña Ana, his mother can finally bury her son, and she now holds the hope of tracing a grandchild, whose probable existence is revealed in the journal the conscript carried when he died. She resorts to a prominent investigation journalist, nicknamed Diva, at first reluctant to help her. Diva has also suffered a loss: in 2001, when Argentina was going throught the worst economic crisis in its history her husband left for Spain to look for a job, and has given no sign of life since then. Unable to raise their son, she has left him in the car of her mother-in-law. As the investigation progresses, uncovering a network of political corruption, a deep friendship develops between the Diva and Doña Ana. Both women will find in each other the support, warmth and love that will eventually allow them save their lives from the wreck.
Rights sold: France (Les Escales).

Sin remedio

(Alfaguara, 2006, 575 p.)
It was first published in Colombia in 1984 where it is regarded as a masterpiece and has never ceased to be reprinted.
Wannabe poet, Ignacio Escobar, 31, the anti-hero of the novel, has a hard time trying to cope with a reality he cannot begin to understand. He has trouble finding where he belongs, whether in the upper-class society of Bogotá, which his family represents, or among his bourgeois friends obsessed with revolutionary ideas and existential conflicts. Everyone around him is putting him under pressure: his mother and his uncle, anxious to see him married and heading the family-owned bank; his girlfriend, who desperately wishes him to propose; his left-wing friends who urge him to get involved in their fight against capitalism.
Much praised by Gabriel García Márquez and Fernando Vallejo, Antonio Caballero’s emblematic novel combines humor and causticity in a ferocious picture the Colombian society in the 70’s that does not seem to have changed much today.
Rights sold: French (Belfond)

Le Code d’Esther (Esther’s Code)

(Ed. First, France, Oct. 2012)

Nüremberg, 1946. After a lengthy trial, eleven nazi leaders are sentenced to death. Just as he is about to be executed, one of them, Julius Streicher, cries out: “Now I am going towards God. The Jews will rejoice. This is Purim 1946”. What was the significance of Streicher’s mysterious words? Scholars familiar with the scriptures know that the origin of Purim can be found in the Book of Esther, but how does that relate to the hanging of the nazi criminals?

Bernard Benyamin’s book is about a story that goes back five milleniums, back to the mists of time A story related to the true meaning of the Scriptures and our ability to understand them. A quest that will take us to Germany after the World War II, on the shores of the Dead Sea, in the secrecy of Swiss banks, and to California. It is an amazing true story, full of mysteries, puzzles and cabalistic symbols, an unlikely mix of the Da Vinci Code, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Holocaust and the Bible.
It is also a very thorough investigation in which the authors try to sort out fact from fiction, question¬ning interpretations generally accepted by various religious communities and avoiding any misleading evidence. It is based on the most reliable scientific research, and on facts and information corroborated by internationally-renowned experts whose work is opening new perspectives on understanding the genocides’ true motiv¬ations.
Both the book and the TV feature can be defined as a rational investigation on an irrational, often passionate subject, a questioning on Chance and the Divine.

Rights sold : Norway (Lundquist Forlag, Italy (NewtonCompton), Poland (Otwarte), China (Shanghai Joint Publishing [...]

La última vez que maté a mi madre (Last Time I Killed My Mother).

Alfaguara, 1999, 300 p.

Lina and Tomás belong to a generation that has been wiped out by the dictatorship of the 70’s and early 80’s. Lina struggles in a complicated relationship with a very neurotic and cruel mother. Tomás – the son of German Jews who fled Nazi Germany and immigrated to Argentina – is now living in Brazil and is back in Buenos Aires for just few days. Although they have not met, they are deeply connected to each other. The possible encounter – much expected but always postponed – between the two maintains the suspense until the finale. It is a moving, engrossing story, wonderfully written and spiced with sharp-witted humor.

Rights sold: Italy (Avagliano)

LA DIETA DE LAS MALAS NOTICIAS

Six brothers ans sisters take turns to look after their ageing mother when she begins to show bad signs of Alhzeimer.

La Profesora de Español

(Alfaguara, 2005, 258 p.) An Argentinean woman moves to Spain as a result of the economic crisis Argentina suffered in 2001 and gets a job, teaching Spanish to foreigners. A wonderful story about exile and adjustment, as well as a subtle into the cultural and language differences between Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.

Hombres como médanos (Men Are Like Sand Dunes)

Short stories (Alfaguara 2006, 315 p.). Ranging from the humorous to the absurd, from intimate realism to telltale fantasies, these stories are about men and women who try to transcend the boundaries of their day-to-day lives.