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Being economical with the truth allows a photographer to understand something of which she would have preferred to have remained ignorant.

A chance meeting at a regimental reunion obliges a veteran of the Korean War to confront his past. A walk-on part in a Polanski film finds the narrator searching the director’s face for signs of the aftermath of Sharon Tate’s murder.

The internet search for a book published in 1887, leads a writer to discover the life of a passionate woman.

The characters in Songs for the Flames are men and women touched by violence – sometimes directly, sometimes only tangentially – but whose lives are changed forever by an unexpected encounter or by the operation of incomprehensible forces. Sixteen years after his first collection, Juan Gabriel Vásquez returns to the form with an outstanding set of nine morally complex stories, fresh proof of his narrative versatility and his profound understanding of the lives of others.


A book crammed with human stories in which various tragedies are seen at a distance. And with the characters that could easily have been the protagonists of their own novels
El Pais, Federico Simon
In these nine stories, written in the first person and in prose as swift and elegant as crystal, Vásquez does not build a purely fictional universe, but presents himself, like Cervantes, as a chronicler of events that happened and are in some way part of his biography.
Diego Gandara, La Razon
The invisible stitching between these different levels of the story is a great technical achievement
Jorge Humberto Botero, Semana
Nine stories in which the laws of chance burst into the characters' daily lives, leading them to sketch out other stories in which, willingly or not, they become characters in something bigger than themselves
El Tiempo
A masterful writer. Juan Gabriel Vásquez has many gifts-intelligence, wit, energy, a deep vein of feeling-but he uses them so naturally that soon enough one forgets one's amazement at his talents, and then the strange, beautiful sorcery of his tale takes hold.
Nicole Krauss
Juan Gabriel Vásquez is one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature.
Mario Vargas Llosa
For anyone who has read the entire works of Gabriel García Márquez and is in search of a new Colombian novelist... a thrilling new discovery.
Colm Tóibín