Reputations is a novel by Juan Gabriel Vasquez. I'll be on the lookout for more by this author. The book is beautifully written/translated, the characters are real people, the plot is interestingly constructed.... It's thought-provoking but not manipulative. I am glad I picked this book up.
from the dust jacket:
Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country's most influential political cartoonist, the conscience of a nation. A man capable of repealing laws, overturning judges' decisions, and destroying politicians' careers with his artfavorite quote:
After four decades of a brilliant career, Mallarino is at the height of his powers. When he is paid an unexpected visit by a young woman whose shocking story upends his sense of personal history, he is forced to reconsider his life and work, and question his position in the world.
Juan Gabriel Vasquez explores the weight of the past, how a public persona intersects with private histories, the burdens and surprises of memory.
In this intimate and propulsive novel, he plumbs universal experiences to create a masterful story, one that reverberates long after you turn the final page.
There are women who do not preserve, on the map of their face, any trace of the little girl they once were, perhaps because they've made great efforts to leave childhood behind -its humiliations, its subtle persecutions, the experience of constant disappointment -perhaps because something's happened in the meantime, one of those private cataclysms that don't mold a person but rather raze them, like a building, and force them to reconstruct themselves from scratch.The New York Times calls the author "a true international writer" and says, "“Reputations” can be read and enjoyed on many levels: for its reflections on art, memory and fate; for its account of recent Colombian history at a slant, which is Vásquez’s trademark approach; for its Jungian exploration of lives intersecting." Kirkus Reviews calls it "A brisk and sophisticated study of a conscience in crisis."
NPR has an interview with the author.
This is part of my book challenges for the year. It is on the NPR list of best books of 2016. The author is also Colombian, so I'm feeling a connection with Memphis in May, whose honored country this year is Colombia.