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. El olvido que seremos sold 150.000 copies in Spanish.
In his book Tratado de culinaria para mujeres tristes (“A Culinary Manual for Sad Women”), Héctor Abad enchants the reader with funny anecdotes and extraordinary recipes that seem to come straight out of a witch’s cauldron.
No one knows the recipe for happiness – and still Héctor Abad has given us a whole book of them. He knows how to prevail against almost any misfortune or ailment a woman may suffer from, be it old age, melancholy, an intolerable mother-in-law or the ideas men get into their heads. His recipes, at times bizarre, at times wise, can even cure guilt – although the ingredients are not always easy to come by.
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.
A mixture of memoir and novel, El olvido que seremos ("Oblivion") 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 just been published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the Us.
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.
A beautiful, authentic and moving book.
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.
“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 Traiciones de la memoria (“Betrayals of
Memory”). 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 El olvido
que seremos, 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
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Original editions and rights sold:
Asuntos de un hidalgo disoluto, Bogotá: Ed. Tercer Mundo 1984; Alfaguara 1999, 220 p.
Brazil: Companhia das Letras 2012 ● France: Editions JC Lattès 2010 ● Germany: Wagenbach 2001 ● Greece: Enalios 2000 ● Italy: Sellerio 1997, 2010 ● Portugal: Presença 2001, Quetzal 2010 ● UK: Pushkin Press 2012
Film rights sold to One Film Corp.
Brazil: Companhia das Letras ● France: Editions JC Lattès 2010
Chronicles and short stories: