When you are in the public eye, your reputation is everything: it's your word, your identity, your safety net, your undoing. In Reputations, we meet a man with a unique power, a political cartoonist who can make or break (usually break) people with just a few strokes of his pen. For decades, Javier has been unflinchingly brutal in his work and has made peace with the consequences. It takes a woman from his past, a long-buried memory, to make him question his decisions. With his spare, lovely prose and ruminations on power, identity, and memory, Gabriel Vasquez has crafted the perfect read. It's slim, but kept me thinking long after I turned the last page!— Lauren
Political cartoons and caricatures in particular can change the subject’s life dramatically and drastically. They can also change the course of an election, the fate of a corporation, or a law getting passed. But, what are the constraints on an artist--is he allowed to destroy someone’s life in the process? And what if there is a chance that an artist with his pen and ink has made a mistake? This novel examines these issues in an absorbing, brilliant way--the famous caricaturist, Javier Mallarino, at the apex of his career is suddenly confronted with the implications of his holier than thou, although in my mind, politically correct, attempts to get Bogota’s corrupt government back on track. His world implodes and he if forced to examine it from the inside out.— Gayle
October 2016 Indie Next List
“With direct and forceful narrative and a translation as smooth and peaceful as the quiet narrator himself, this book takes the reader on a days-long search for the past and the present in modern day Bogota. A prominent political cartoonist is shaken when a forgotten uncertainty from the past resurfaces. This psychological study of the concept that what we believe makes us who we are is a masterpiece!”
— Nicole Magistro (W), The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, CO
A brilliant novel about the power of politics and personal memory from one of South America's literary stars, the New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Things Falling. Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country's most influential political cartoonist, the consciousness of a nation. A man capable of repealing laws, overturning judges' decisions, destroying politicians' careers with his art. His weapons are pen and ink. Those in power fear him and pay him homage. After four decades of a brilliant career, he's at the height of his powers. But this all changes when he's paid an unexpected visit from a young woman who upends his sense of personal history and forces him to re-evaluate his life and work, questioning his position in the world. In Reputations, Juan Gabriel Vasquez examines the weight of the past, how a public persona intersects with private histories, and the burdens and surprises of memory. In this intimate novel that recalls authors like Coetzee and Ian McEwan, Vasquez plumbs universal experiences to create a masterful story, one that reverberates long after you turn the final page. Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, Newsweek, the Guardian, and Kirkus
About the Author
Juan Gabriel Vasquez's previous books include the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner and national bestseller, The Sound of Things Falling, as well as the award-winning The Informers, The Secret History of Costaguana, and the story collection Lovers on All Saints' Day. Vasquez's novels have been published in twenty-eight languages worldwide. After sixteen years in France, Belgium, and Spain, he now lives in Bogota. Anne McLean translates Latin American and Spanish novels, short stories, memoirs, and other writings. She has twice won both the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Premio Valle Inclan, and received the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award with Juan Gabriel Vasquez for his novel The Sound of Things Falling. She lives in Toronto.