- Publisher: MacLehose Press
- Format: Paperback | 272 pages
- Dimensions: 132mm x 198mm x 15mm | 157g
- Publication date: 4 February 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 190669477X
- ISBN 13: 9781906694777
- Sales rank: 530,291
In a small town in the mountains of Colombia, Ismael, a retired teacher, spends his mornings gathering oranges in the sunshine and spying on his neighbour as she sunbathes naked in her garden. Returning from a walk one morning he discovers that his wife has disappeared. Then more people go missing, and not-so-distant gunfire signals the approach of war. Most of the villagers make their escape, but Ismael cannot leave without his Otilia. He becomes an unwilling witness to the senseless civil war that sweeps through his country with a tragic inevitability. In The Armies Rosero has created a hallucinatory, relentless, captivating narrative often as violent as the events it describes, told by an old man battered by a reality he no longer recognizes.
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Evelio Rosero was awarded the 2006 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.
'An important and powerful book' Janine di Giovanni, The Times. 'This finely wrought but softly-spoken novel of love, war and grief not only laments a people's tragedy but celebrates the fragile virtues of everyday life at the end of its tether' Boyd Tonkin, Independent. '... this quietly devastating novel speaks gently but strikes deep ... perfectly pitched and paced, Anne McLean's English version does it due honour... if our age of cyclical terror and counter-terror needs its own answer to All Quiet On The Western Front, here it is' Independent. 'Author Evelio Rosero crafts his tale simply but with devastating effect; his clipped prose conveys a sense of utter terror and grief. Winner of the 2009 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, The Armies is a stunning work.' Sunday Business Post. 'A timeless epic which bears witness to the madness of a country adrift in the crossfire' Edgardo Dobry, El Pais.