The Secret History of Costaguana

The Secret History of Costaguana

Book - 2011
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A bold historical novel from "one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature" (Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature).

In the early twentieth century, a struggling Joseph Conrad wrote his great novel Nostromo, about a South American republic he named Costaguana. It was inspired by the geography and history of Colombia, where Conrad spent only a few days. But in Juan Gabriel Vásquez's novel The Secret History of Costaguana, we uncover the hidden source- and one of the great literary thefts.

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. Conrad stole them all. Now Conrad is dead, but the slate is by no means clear- Nostromo will live on and Altamirano must write himself back into existence. As the destinies of real empires collide with the murky realities of imagined ones, Vásquez takes us from a flourishing twentieth-century London to the lawless fury of a blooming Panama and back.

Tragic and despairing, comic and insightful, The Secret History of Costaguana is a masterpiece of historical invention. It will secure Juan Gabriel Vásquez's place among the most original and exuberantly talented novelists working today.
Published: New York : Riverhead Books, 2011.
ISBN: 9781594488030
Branch Call Number: F VAS
Characteristics: 283 p. ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: McLean, Anne 1962-


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Dec 19, 2013

This story, told in the first person, intertwining the history of the Republic of Columbia from about 1850 to 1905, the real life events in novelist Joseph Conrad's life, and the fictional main characters, was wonderfully entertaining at first. But the "back slapping" humour and the quixotic actions of the main character became tiresome toward the end. Where did the main character get his income to use to repeatedly travel the Panama Railroad and cross the Atlantic?


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