In the city of Bogot, 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 Medelln 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.
"'The Damaging Exercise of Remembering'"
Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country's most influential political cartoonist, the consciousness of a nation. A man capable of repealing laws, overturning judges' decisions, destroying politicians' careers with his art. His weapons are pen and ink. Those in power fear him and pay him homage. At 65, after four decades of a brilliant career, he's at the height of his powers. But this all changes when he's paid an unexpected visit from a young woman.
"I must be missing something"
On the day of Joseph Conrad's death, in 1924, the Colombian-born José Altamirano begins to write and cannot stop. Many years before, he confessed to Conrad his life's every delicious detail - from his country's heroic revolutions to his darkest solitary moments. Those intimate recollections became Nostromo, a novel that solidified Conrad’s fame and turned Altamirano’s reality into a work of fiction. Now Conrad is dead, but the slate is by no means clear. Nostromo will live on and Altamirano must write himself back into existence.
A Colombian writer is witness to a murder that will mark him forever. A woman sits alone in her house, waiting for her husband to return, while he lies in another woman's bed 20 kilometers away. Through blood-soaked betrayal, a love affair, murder, and long-meditated revenge, Vasquez achieves an extraordinary unity of emotion, morality, and landscape with these fragmented lives.