Héctor Abad Faciolince

Colombia

© 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 over 180,000 copies in Spanish.

 

In his new novel La Oculta (“The Hideaway”), 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 El olvido que seremos, La Oculta is part autobiographic, part fiction.

 

 

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.

El País

 

 

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 sold over 180,000 copies in Spanish and was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the USA.

 

 

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

 

 

“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 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.

 

 

For further information, please visit also:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_Abad_Faciolince

 

 

Rights:

 

Novels:
La oculta
Bogotá: Alfaguara, forthcoming in December 2014;Madrid: Alfaguara, forthcoming in Spring 2015
 

El olvido que seremos, Bogotá: Planeta 2006; Barcelona: Planeta 2007, 274 p.

Over 180,000 copies sold in Spain!

Brazil: Companhia das Letras 2011 Egypt: Al Arabi France: Gallimard 2010, pb 2012 Germany: Berenberg Verlag 2009 Italy: Einaudi 2009 Netherlands: De Geus 2010 Portugal: Quetzal 2009 Romania: Curtea VecheUK: Old Street Publishing 2010 US: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2012, 2013 pb

 

Angosta, Bogotá: Seix Barral 2004, 320 p.

Film rights sold to Dos Monkeys

Brazil: Companhia das Letras France: Editions JC Lattès 2010

 

Basura, Madrid: Lengua de trapo 2000, 190 p.

Italy: Bollati Boringhieri 2008 Portugal: Quetzal 2012

 

Fragmentos de amor furtivo, Bogotá: Alfaguara 1998, 357 p.

Film rights sold to One Film Corp.

Portugal: Presença 2001

 

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 Greece: Enalios 2000 Italy: Sellerio 1997, 2010 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:

Traiciones de la memoria, Bogotá: Alfaguara 2009, 265 p.

France: Gallimard Germany: Berenberg 2011

 

El amanecer de un marido, Bogotá: Seix Barral 2008, 225 p.

 

Oriente empieza en El Cairo, Barcelona: Mondadori 2002, 203 p.

 

Palabras sueltas, Bogotá: Planeta 2002, 250 p.

 

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

 

 

 

Poetry:

Testamento involuntario, Bogotá: Alfaguara 2012, 130 p.