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Oblivion: A Memoir

Oblivion: A Memoir


By (author) Hector Abad, Translated by Anne McLean, Translated by Rosalind Harvey

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  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Format: Paperback | 263 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 201mm x 18mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 14 May 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0374533938
  • ISBN 13: 9780374533939
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 777,438

Product description

"An irreplaceable testimony of the struggle for democracy and tolerance in Latin America." "--El Pais " Hector Abad's "Oblivion "is a heartbreaking, exquisitely written memorial to the author's father, Hector Abad Gomez, whose criticism of the Colombian regime led to his murder by paramilitaries in 1987. Twenty years in the writing, it paints an unforgettable picture of a man who followed his conscience and paid for it with his life during one of the darkest periods in Latin America's recent history.

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Author information

Hector Abad is one of Colombia's leading writers. Born in 1958, he grew up in Medellin, where he studied medicine, philosophy, and journalism. After being expelled from university for writing a defamatory text against the Pope, he moved to Italy before returning to his homeland in 1987.

Review quote

"It is very difficult to summarize "Oblivion "without betraying it, because, like all great works, it is many things at once. To say that it is a heartrending memoir of the author's family and father--who was murdered by a hired assassin--is true, but paltry and infinitesimal, because the book is also a moving immersion into the inferno of Colombian political violence, into the life and soul of the city of Medellin, into the private life and public courage of a family, a true story that is also a superb fiction due to the way it is written and constructed, and one of the most eloquent arguments written in our time or any time against terror as an instrument of political action." --Mario Vargas Llosa "["Oblivion"] emits a primal yet articulate howl . . . Mr. Abad's prose, in this translation by Anne McLean and Rosalind Harvey, is elastic and alive . . . In Spanish the verb 'to remember' is 'recordar, ' the author reminds us, a word that derives from 'cor, ' the Latin for heart. This memoir is extravagantly big-hearted. It will be stocked, in good bookstores, in the nonfiction or belles-lettres sections. A wise owner might also place a copy under the sign that more simply reads: Parenting." --Dwight Garner, "The New York Times ""[An] admirable effort at speaking the unspeakable, at verbalizing the pain accumulated over decades, is Hector Abad's extraordinary memoir "Oblivion." It's been years since I read such a powerful meditation on loss . . . I confess not to have known of [Abad] before, even though this is his second book translated into English. This ignorance was actually beneficial, for it allowed me to submerge myself in the narrative without preconception. I emerged from that submersion hypnotized. "Oblivion" will remind you in equal measure of Vittorio de Sica's Italian neo-Realist movie "The Bicycle Thief" and Elie Wiesel's Holocaust novel "Night" . . . [Abad's] desire to explore the echoes of memory with meticulous care, to touch the wound