By Juan Gabriel Vásquez
A story encouraged through Joseph Conrad's 'Nostromo' follows the tale of Colombian-born José Altamirano, who unearths his quintessential position within the classic's writing and who pens his personal model of occasions opposed to a backdrop of a flourishing twentieth-century London and lawless Panama
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Additional info for The secret history of Costaguana
The fact is that there, that night, among printers and bookbinders, who only went through the motions of seeming impartial, among those lead characters, who looked so peaceful but could stir up entire revolutions when set, surrounded by hundreds or perhaps thousands of wooden drawers that seemed to contain all the protests, threats, manifestos and countermanifestos, accusations and denunciations and vindications of the political world, several radical leaders had gathered to leave the occupied capital together and plan with the armies of other provinces the campaign to recover it.
They were able to release one accurate and convincing fact: Pascal and Newton had been faithful and practicing Christians. They were able to release a slogan, cheap but no less effective for it: TWO CUPS OF SCIENCE LEAD TO ATHEISM, BUT THREE CUPS LEAD TO FAITH. And thus the matter progressed (or rather did not). The city watched the vultures squabble. The corpses of cholera victims, which had been leaving the San Juan de Dios Hospital, sporadically, for the last year, were viewed with the avarice of merchants by the radical students, but also by Father Valenzuela’s crusading followers.
They were the sounds that announced a civil war,” my father would tell me in an oracular tone. . He liked to assume those poses, and many times over the course of our life together (which was not long) he put his hand on my shoulder and looked at me, arching a solemn eyebrow, to tell me that he had predicted this, that he had guessed that. ” Yes, that was my father: the man who, after a certain age, beaten senseless by Great Events—saved on a few occasions, damned on most—ends up developing that curious defense mechanism of predicting things many years after they’d happened.
The secret history of Costaguana by Juan Gabriel Vásquez