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.
No one knows the recipe for happiness – and still Héctor Abad has given us a whole book of them. In Tratado de culinaria para mujeres tristes ("A Culinary Manual for Sad Women"), 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.
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
For further information, please visit also:
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.
Film rights sold to Dos Monkeys
Brazil: Companhia das Letras ● France: Editions JC Lattès 2010
Chronicles and short stories: