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Book Title: El desbarrancadero|
The author of the book: Fernando Vallejo
ISBN 13: 9789505119011
Date of issue: November 28th 2003
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 3.52 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.1
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El desbarrancadero is an autobiographical book where the narrator tells a story about returning home, to a small village in Colombia, where his brother Dario is dying from HIV infection. That is the frame, but the book has a nonlinear narrative, and memories, reflection, emotions and random thoughts intertwine with the base story. It is told in one breath, sounding almost like an intimate conversation of the author with himself where all of his most profound and ugliest emotions come out, seasoned with a lot of cursing and dark humor (a very disrespectful toward everybody, but I have to admit I laughed a few times). It is about author's childhood, upbringing, sexual adventures and outlook on himself, his close relationships and the world. The physical deterioration that his brother is experiencing from day to day due to the terminal illness, the author uses to create a dark and heavy atmosphere where his brokenness, anger, and frustration are tangled in with a critique of the moral wickedness of his mother, corrupted Colombian politicians and pope and the Church. He is particularly angry at mother and the pope. Honestly, I can completely understand the anger toward his mother, who didn’t care for him or his psychological needs, while demanding everything, but constant insulting of the Pope John Paul II, I found unnecessary, and it was evident it was caused by projections of the author. He is furious on the Church in Colombia, that should protect people and failed to do so, preaching the moral unobtainable for the author and the priests, who author finds hypocritical. Outside hateful relationship he has with his narcissistic mother, who by the way, also goes to church, the author also describes the death of his father, who is seen in his eyes only as a mother's victim. The only person he seems to care about is his brother Dario, and he gives him loving care in last days, really revealing unselfish and idealistic self that is hidden under the mask of rebellious cynicism. Have to say I didn’t like the style and vocabulary, and the bitterness in this book put me in a sad mood. Although I appreciate author pain conveyed through this book as uncontrollable anger towards everything and everybody, I think he is kinda running in circles around it and that he stubbornly refuses to forgive and let go. He was in a dark place of meaninglessness and despair when he wrote this book and being in that place with him was immensely depressing. I would like to talk to him and show him some love and empathy though and try to help him transcend his pain, but I don’t think I will read more of his work, not really my cup of tea.
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Read information about the authorFernando Vallejo Rendón (born 1942 in Medellín, Colombia) is a novelist, filmmaker and essayist, born in Colombia. He obtained Mexican nationality in 2007.
Vallejo was born and raised in Medellín, though he left his hometown early in life. He started studies in Philosophy at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, but after one year he abandoned the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. Soon after he began new studies on biology at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, which he finished. Then he spent one year in Italy at the film academy Cinecittá, where he obtained basic notions on cinema.
Vallejo then returned to Colombia with the project of filmmaking. Yet after difficulties with the Colombian Government in producing and, after he produced it, in presenting his first film (it was censored), he decided to leave his country.
In Mexico he produced and distributed three films about the violence in Colombia. He also wrote an award-winning children's theater script, "El reino misterioso o Tomás y las abejas." He has been living in Mexico since 1971, where he not only produced his cinematographic pieces, but also the whole of his literary work. Despite time spent in other locales, mainly Europe and the United States, most of his novels take place in Colombia. Some of his themes are grammar, biology, philosophy, physics, violence, pederasty, adolescence, drugs, death and politics, mostly related to places such as Antioquia and Medellín; yet his main theme is his life. His books are written in first person, in an autobiographical style.
His best-known novel, La virgen de los sicarios, has been translated into English as Our Lady of the Assassins. It deals with his fictionalized return to Medellín, and his relationships with two teenagers caught in the local cycle of violence. The autobiographical/fiction La virgen de los sicarios was made into a full feature film in 2000 and released in the United States as Our Lady of the Assassins.
In 2003, Colombian filmmaker Luis Ospina made a feature-length documentary about him: "La desazón suprema: retrato incesante de Fernando Vallejo ("The Supreme Uneasiness: Incessant Portrait of Fernando Vallejo").
In April 2007, Vallejo obtained Mexican citizenship and published a letter in which he publicly renounced his Colombian nationality. The letter presents the reasons for his decision by mentioning several incidents during his career, among them the recent reelection of President Uribe, that eventually led him to this decision.
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