- Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc
- Format: Hardback | 330 pages
- Dimensions: 135mm x 216mm x 27mm | 391g
- Publication date: 20 November 2008
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1847244858
- ISBN 13: 9781847244857
- Sales rank: 813,786
Ismael is a retired school teacher in a small Colombian village. He gathers oranges, admires beautiful women and has an idyllic everyday life. When the village is ransacked by an anonymous army, he is thrown into the fray and his mental stability collapses. The tragedy which engulfs the inhabitants of this village has indeed become an everyday occurrence in this country. People are kidnapped; killed; they disappear at the hands of unidentified groups such as the armies of the title: Guerillas, Paramilitaries, narcotics traffickers. Instead of describing the reality of an unpredictable violent world, Rosero imitates it - with the dense, confused prose of a man going mad. Instead of portraying violence, he has created a violent novel. In this story, no-one is spared, no one is protected.
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Evelio Rosero studied Social Communication in the Externado University of Colombia. In 2006 he was awarded the Tusquets National Prize for Literature in Colombia for his novel The Armies. Anne McLean has translated the novels of, among others, Javier Cercas, Julio Cortazar, Ignacio Padilla and Tomas Eloy Martinez. Her translation of Javier Cercas' Soldiers of Salamis won the 2004 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Premio Valle Inclan.
Unquestionably one of the most important Latin American novels of the last few years - El Universal ...a timeless epic...which intends to bear witness to the madness of a country adrift in the crossfire - El Pais discomfiting evocation of the turmoil wrought on ordinary lives by conflict heart-wrenching - Metro. It is a story of horror and despair, beautifully told - Standpoint Magazine. The Armies is a swift and engaging piece of prose. In Anne McLean's fine translation, often beautifully rhythmic and economical, Ismael's voice brings the reader into the heart of the human experience . Evelio Rosero's book is all the more powerful for it - The Independent. Rosero's ability to depict vulnerability and insanity is unrivalled, and his style favours precision over description. He has that ability that distinguishes great writers: an ability to peer into the human heart. The result is a well-grounded narrative form with a strong sense of direction that carries the reader on its shoulders almost effortlessly - Latin American Review of Books.