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CriticasTwo books stand out in the caustic work of Colombian author Vallejo: his multivolume autobiography El rio del tiempo (The River of Time, Alfaguara, 1987-2000) and the violent tale of a young contract killer, La virgen de los sicarios (Our Lady of the Assassins, Alfaguara, 1994), which was adapted into an award-inning film by renowned director Barbet Schroeder. The protagonist of this latest novel, a rambling dead man, tours the many crossroads of his defunct memory. Centered on Barcelona's book fair and rhythmically merging with his reminiscences of Mexico and Colombia, his monolog devolves into a well-paced mist of radical opinions and excruciating sharpness. Readers will find here an eloquent and cleverly constructed agony; the author shows off his beautiful rage against his usual suspects: the pope, politicians, literature, his native and adopted countries. Although somewhat jumpy, the narrative follows an internal logic and-curiously for the speech of a dead man-contains plenty of radiant vitality. There's no mourning in his lament; it's a pristine, streetwise statement that is affirmative despite its sourness. This surreal tour of a ghost has nothing to do with magic realism. Vallejo's style is colloquial, foul-mouthed, and full of tough lyricism and deadpan humor-an unusual blend in contemporary literature that must be welcomed, in spite of its occasional shortcomings, as an honest breath of pure air. Recommended for bookstores, libraries, and readers eager to find the likes of C line, Genet, or Burroughs in Latin American literature.
—Gustavo Pesoa, New York City Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.