Héctor Abad Faciolince


© Daniela Abad



Héctor Abad Faciolince was born in Medellín, Colombia, in 1958, where he studied medicine, philosophy and journalism. After being expelled from university for writing a defamatory text against the Pope, he moved to Italy. In 1987, shortly after returning to his homeland, his father was murdered. In 2008, Abad was a guest of the DAAD's Artist-in-Residence Programme in Berlin. He now lives again in Colombia. Oblivion sold over 250,000 copies in Spanish. His latest novel The Farm has been number 1 among the bestselling novels in Colombia since November 2014 and has already sold 75,000 copies.



One of Latin America’s most revered and successful authors

The Guardian



In his latest novel The Farm (“La Oculta”), Héctor Abad presents us with the moving story of a closely-knit Colombian family.

When the Ángel family’s beloved home in the Antioquian wilderness falls into danger, they manage to defend it against the guerrillas and, later, the paramilitaries – but at a high price. When their parents die, Pilar, Eva and Toño have to decide the fate of their father’s legacy. While Pilar and Toño want to keep La Oculta, Eva, who experienced something terrible at the old farm house, is determined to sell. As the siblings each struggle with their own problems, their inner conflicts threaten to tear apart not only their home but also their family.

Written from alternating points of view in precise and atmospheric language, the Ángel family will win the reader’s heart immediately. Like his bestselling novel Oblivion, The Farm is part autobiographic, part fiction. It was number 1 among the bestselling novels in Colombia in 2014.



Much more than a story about settlers: sad and sensitive, it is an elegy to the fragile paradises that we must all leave behind.

Le Monde


In Latin America, a new post-ideological realism is spreading. Héctor Abad's novel The Farm is today's world literary response to Gabriel García Márquez' "One Hundred Years of Solitude".


A masterpiece.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung


Abad depicts in The Farm much more than a story about settlers: sad and sensitive, it is an elegy to the fragile paradises that we must all leave behind.

Le Monde


The Farm will leave no one indifferent. I read it in two days and just couldn’t put it down.

Florence Thomas, El Tiempo


A book in the finest Colombian storytelling tradition.



A novel that moves the reader and draws him in.



A book that can be read as a metaphor for his country.

El País


No one knows the recipe for happiness – and still Héctor Abad has given us a whole book of them. In A Culinary Manual for Sad Women ("Tratado de culinaria para mujeres tristes "), he shows us how to prevail against almost any misfortune, be it old age or melancholy, and enchants the reader with anecdotes that seem to come straight out of a witch's cauldron.


The laconic wisdom of life that shines through Abad’s capricious recommendations is ambrosia for the soul, even for men.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


Instructions for happiness – this author knows the female psyche well.

El País



A mixture of memoir and novel, Oblivion ("El olvido que seremos ") is an attempt to save a destiny from the oblivion of forgetting – whilst at the same time providing an involving portrait of an epoch, and of a young man on the way to adulthood. The clear and poetic language makes reading this book into a true literary experience. “Oblivion” has sold over 180,000 copies in Spanish and was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the USA.


As an account of the love between a son and his father it is most moving. But it is also a clear-sighted exploration of the terrible sickness that afflicted Colombia in the 1980s, some pages so painful that one flinches from reading them. In all, it is a tragic and unforgettable history.

John Coetzee


My most enthralling reading experience of recent years.

Mario Vargas Llosa


Not only is it a beautiful and profoundly moving work, not only is it a necessary lesson on current themes such as civic education and the relation between personal and historical memory, but also an irreplaceable testimony of the struggle for democracy and tolerance in countries that are so near and dear to us.

Fernando Savater, El País


A tremendous and necessary book, with an overwhelming courage and honesty. At times I wondered how he had the bravery to write it.

Javier Cercas


A beautiful, authentic and moving book.

Rosa Montero


I store up what I have read by Héctor Abad like spherical, polished, luminous little balls of bread, ready for when I have to walk through a vast forest in the nighttime.

Manuel Rivas



The city of Angosta is divided into three parts, according to social standing. When the aspiring poet Andrés starts working for an organization that aims to expose the crimes of the upper class and the drug lords, he himself soon becomes a victim. Left behind are Jacobo Lince, the charismatic owner of an eccentric bookshop, and Candela, Andrés’s girlfriend. Together, they take up where he left off. Written in poetic language, the futuristic Angosta is a mirror of the violent reality of many parts of Latin America, and both a beautiful and terrifying modern fable.



“Truth and memory are always tinged with oblivion, or distortions of memory that are not recognized as such.” In this book, Héctor Abad discusses the difficulty of recomposing the past, summed up – as the title of the book indicates – as Betrayals to Memory (“Traiciones de la memoria”). The trigger for this journey into the past is a poem found in the bag of the author’s father, Héctor Abad Gómez, on the day of his assassination in Medellín, August 1987. The author wrote in his diary at that moment: “We found him in a pool of blood. I kissed him and he was still warm. But so still, so still. The rage almost choked my tears. The sadness wouldn’t allow me to feel the full extent of the rage. My mum took off his wedding ring. I looked in his bag and found a poem”. The poem, attributed by some to Jorge Luis Borges, becomes the protagonist of the book. In 2006, when Abad published Oblivion, some literary critics reproached him for having claimed Borges as the poem’s author in order to sell more books. In confronting this controversy, Abad began to investigate the origins of the poem. The task was not to be an easy one, owing to the fact that certain Borges specialists insisted the poem was not by the great Argentine writer. Through interviews and meetings with writers and journalists, the author ends up winning the battle over oblivion and betrayals of memory. In addition, the book contains two short chapters in which the author speaks of his experience as an emigrant in Turín, Italy, during his years in exile after his father’s assassination. He also reflects on the complex theme of the self and the other in literature.



A Little Silver Ball (“Una bolita plateada”) tells of the intimate relationship between Ce and Cilia, granddaughter and grandmother (respectively), and how they build, between them, longings, dreams, motivations for life, and death. Also at the centre of the story is a little silver ball that Ce's great-grandfather began to model, supposedly around something very valuable, and which over the years has been coated with different layers of aluminium foil, making it a perfect sphere. The ball passes from one generation to the next, with the intention that it will come in useful at a time of great need. But Cilia, despite the crises suffered during her lifetime, never dares to unravel the ball to get to the coin, the pearl, the diamond, or whatever is hidden inside. And she asks Ce, who will inherit the little ball, never to open it either, telling her: "It is better never to fathom what is contained in the heart of the ball, nor in the hearts of people."

Hector Abad’s first children's book can be read by readers of all ages, since it touches on deep and vital issues with great poetry: there are treasures that are hidden in the centre of the body, in the heart of memory and even in the middle of a little silver ball. Perhaps they are not visible, but they are there.


For further information, please visit also:






The Farm (“La Oculta”)
Bogotá: Alfaguara 2014, 340 p.; Madrid: Alfaguara 2015
Number 1 among the bestselling novels in Colombia for 6 months and the 5th bestselling novel in 2015 
Nominated for the Mario Vargos Llosa Prize 2016
Cálamo Prize 2015 – Book of the Year in Spain

Brazil: Companhia das Letras Denmark: Aurora Boreal 2018Egypt: Sefsafa Culture & Publishing France: Gallimard 2016 Germany: Berenberg 2016, btb pb 2018 Greece: Patakis 2018 The Netherlands: De Geus 2016 Portugal: Quetzal 2016 UK: World Editions 2018 USA: Archipelago 2018


Oblivion (“El olvido que seremos”)

Bogotá: Planeta 2006; Barcelona: Seix Barral 2007, 274 p.

Over 250,000 copies sold in Spanish language

Film rights sold to Caracol TV

Brazil: Companhia das Letras 2011 Egypt: Al Arabi 2014, Dar Altanweer Egypt France: Gallimard 2010, pb 2012 Germany: Berenberg Verlag 2009 Greece: Patakis 2017 Italy: Einaudi 2009, La Repubblica-L´Espresso 2018 The Netherlands: De Geus 2010 Poland: Scared Dragon Portugal: Quetzal 2009 ● Romania: Curtea Veche 2014 ● UK: Old Street Publishing 2010, World Editions 2018 USA: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2012, pb 2013



Bogotá: Seix Barral 2004, 320 p.

Film rights sold to Dos Monkeys

Brazil: Companhia das Letras 2015 France: Editions JC Lattès 2010



Madrid: Lengua de trapo 2000, 190 p.

Italy: Bollati Boringhieri 2008 Portugal: Quetzal 2012


Fragments of Furtive Love (“Fragmentos de amor furtivo”)

Bogotá: Alfaguara 1998, 357 p.

Film rights sold to One Film Corp.

Portugal: Presença 2001


A Culinary Manual for Sad Women (“Tratado de culinaria para mujeres tristes”)

Medellín: Celacanto 1996; Alfaguara 1997, 2011 120 p.

Brazil: Companhia das Letras 2012 France: Editions JC Lattès 2010 Germany: Wagenbach 2001, 2017 Greece: Enalios 2000 Italy: Sellerio 1997, 2010 Kuwait: Alsurra (Arabic) 2018 Portugal: Presença 2001, Quetzal 2010 UK: Pushkin Press 2012


Asuntos de un hidalgo disoluto

Bogotá: Ed. Tercer Mundo 1984; Alfaguara 1999, 220 p.

UK: Brookline Books 1996



Chronicles and short stories:

Betrayals to Memory (“Traiciones de la memoria”)

Bogotá: Alfaguara 2009, 265 p.

France: Gallimard 2016 Germany: Berenberg 2011


El amanecer de un marido

Bogotá: Seix Barral 2008, 225 p.


Oriente empieza en El Cairo

Barcelona: Mondadori 2002, 203 p.

Egypt: Sefsafa


Palabras sueltas

Bogotá: Planeta 2002, 250 p.


Malos pensamientos

Medellín: Ed. Universidad de Antioquia 1991, 101 p.




Involuntary Testament (“Testamento involuntario”)

Bogotá: Alfaguara 2012; Valencia: Pre-Textos 2015, 130 p.

Germany: dtv (Excerpt) 2018



Children’s Books:

A Little Silver Ball (“Una bolita plateada”)
Medellin: Mesa Estándar 2018, 32 p.



Participation in anthologies:

Vamos a leer
Germany: dtv 2018
(Excerpt of Involuntary Testament)