We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Shape of the Ruins

On sale

3rd May 2018

Price: £16.99

Select a format

Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780857056597

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

The Shape of the Ruins by the Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez, whose recent novel, the best-selling Sound of Things Falling won Spain’s Alfaguara Prize, Italy’s Von Rezzori Prize and the 2014 Dublin IMPAC literary Award, was published to acclaim in Colombia last year and has just appeared in Spain.

It takes the form of personal and formal investigations into two political assassinations – the murders of Rafael Uribe Uribe in 1914, the man who inspired García Márquez’s General Buendia in One Hundred Years of Solitude, and of the charismatic Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the man who might have been Colombia’s J.F.K., gunned down on the brink of success in the presidential elections of 1948. Separated by more than 30 years, the two murders at first appear unconnected, but as the novel progresses Vásquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since. The Shape of the Ruins is Vásquez’s most ambitious, challenging and rewarding novel to date.


Times Literary Supplement
Juan Gabriel Vásquez's latest and most ambitious novel.... A dazzlingly choreographed network of echoes and mirrorings
El Pais
With utmost skill, Vásquez has us accompany him in his detective work, proposing a reflection on ghosts from the past and the inheritance of blame, doubt and fear
El Cultural
Absolutely hypnotic, a display of tense, agile, intelligent narrative, it takes conspiracy to a whole other level
Daniel Hahn, Prospect
Assembled with satisfying complexity . . . it's his most ambitious and accomplished work yet.
M John Harrison, Guardian
This clever, labyrinthine, thoroughly enjoyable historical novel by the Colombian author of The Informers and The Sound of Things Falling entangles the two deaths and investigates the internecine politics that lay behind them.
Boyd Tonkin, Spectator.
Beautifully voiced by his serial translator Anne McLean, Vásquez writes with the elliptical feints and ruses of a story-teller who admires Joseph Conrad in his most delphic moods. The result is sly, subtle, captivating.
1843 Mag (Economist)
The most famous novelist to come out of Colombia since Gabriel García Márquez. His subtle, nuanced fiction uses the tools of documentary reportage - historical sleuthing and interviews with witnesses - to steer readers through the nation's labyrinthine past
Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times
[A] gripping novel by one of Colombia's finest authors
Ariel Dorfman, New York Review of Books
Juan Gabriel Vásquez . . . has succeeded García Márquez as the literary grandmaster of Colombia
Mario Vargas Llosa
One of the most original new writers of Latin American Literature.
Colm Tóibín, Guardian.
For anyone who has read the entire works of Gabriel García Márquez and is in search of a new Colombian novelist, then Juan Gabriel Vásquez . . . is a thrilling new discovery.
Nicole Krauss
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
Malcolm Forbes, Glasgow Herald
Like Don DeLillo's JFK-themed Libra, the novel is an intoxicating blend of fact and fiction
Alan Furst
Juan Gabriel Vásquez's The Shape of the Ruins is a highly sophisticated, fast-moving political thriller set in Colombia and an excellent read