Necropolis by Santiago Gamboa (Pub. date: July 15 2012)

I’ve just find out that Necropolis by Santiago Gamboa (winner of the 2009 La Otra Orilla Literary Award) will soon be available in English translated by Howard Curtis, published by Europa editions.

Book description: Upon recovering from a prolonged illness, an author is invited to a literary gathering in Jerusalem that turns out to be a most unusual affair. In the conference rooms of a luxury hotel, as bombs fall outside, at times too close for comfort, he listens to a series of extraordinary life stories: the saga of a chess-playing duo, the tale of an Italian porn star with a socialist agenda, the drama of a Colombian industrialist who has been waging a longstanding battle with local paramilitaries, and many more. But it is José Maturana—evangelical pastor, recovering drug addict, ex-con—with his story of redemption at the hands of a charismatic tattooed messiah from Miami, Florida, who fascinates the author more than any other. Maturana’s language is potent and vital, and his story captivating.
Hours after his stirring presentation to a rapt audience, however, Maturana is found dead in his hotel room. At first it seems likely that Maturana has taken his own life and everybody seems willing to accept this version of the story. But there are a few loose ends that don’t support the suicide hypothesis, and the author-invitee, moved by Maturana’s life story to discover the truth about his death, will lead an investigation that turns the entire plot of this chimerical novel on its end.
In Necropolis, Santiago Gamboa displays the talent and inventiveness that have earned him a reputation as one of the leading figures in his generation of Latin American authors. (Europa editions

Santiago Gamboa (Bogota, 1965) is unquestionably one of the figures in new Latin American fiction that has had the most impact on the international literary scene. He studied literature in Bogotá, Hispanic Philology in Madrid and Cuban literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. His debut as novelist came with the publication of Páginas de vuelta (Turned Pages) in 1995, making a name for himself as one of the most innovative voices working in new Colombian fiction. His works have been translated into more than ten languages. (Guillermo Schavelzon Agencia Literaria Barcelona)

You can read HERE an article by Santiago Gamboa: On the creation of a Colombian national identity through crime fiction. And an interview with Santiago Gamboa HERE.

2012 Crime Fiction Alphabet, F is for Fonseca

My intention, in this new edition of the Crime Fiction Alphabet, is to introduce you Spanish or Portuguese language writers of crime fiction. My letter “F” is for Fonseca.

Rubem Fonseca is considered one of Brazil’s most influential writers, and was awarded the Prémio Camões—considered the Nobel Prize of Portuguese language literature—for his body of work in 2003. That same year he was awarded the Juan Rulfo Prize. He is the author of eight novels, including High Art, Vast Emotions and Imperfect Thoughts, and Bufo & Spallanzani, all of which have been published in English translation. One of his famous characters is Mandrake, a cynical and amoral lawyer and the basis for an HBO series.

High Art (Harper & Row, 1986). Translated by Ellen Watson. Originally published under the title A Grande Arte in 1983.

From the Publisher: High Art is a crime/thriller story set in Brazil that is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler, with vivid descriptions of the urban landscape and interiors and a fast-paced dialogue. A criminal lawyer in Rio named Mandrake is working on a case involving the murder of two prostitutes. a case that grows and has implications far beyond what it first appears to be. There are other murders and also Mandrake’s continual entanglements with different women. Against an erotic and violent background the story unfolds with the discovery of a mysterious organization that traffics in cocaine out of Bolivia. The novel gives a stark portrait of Brazilian society from the European postcolonial oligarchy (complete with incest, madness, political-financial wheeling and dealing) to the extremes of poverty both urban and in the interior. Finally the pieces of the puzzle come together. though leaving still an element of mystery as Mandrake finds solace with the nubile Bebel. (Zenos Books)

Bufo & Spallanzani (Dutton 1990). Translated from the Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers. Originally published under the title Bufo & Spallanzani in 1986.

On a dead-end street in Rio, Delfina Delamare, socialite wife of multimillionaire Eugenio, is found shot in the heart. The original verdict of suicide is soon dismissed, but this is no ordinary murder. Delfina’s jewels are still on her body, and whoever pulled the trigger carefully unbuttoned her blouse first, then rebuttoned it, leaving a serene, scarcely blemished corpse. In the glove compartment is a new novel, The Lovers, with a personal inscription from the author, Gustavo Flavio. He is the first suspect. (Information available at various on-line bookshops). 

The Lost Manuscript (Bloomsbury, 1997), aka Vast emotions and imperfect thoughts (Ecco Press, 1998). Translated by Clifford E. Landers. Originally published under the title Vastas emoções e pensamentos imperfeitos in 1988. 

From the Publisher: What better place to hide a collection of priceless jewels than among the glitter and ostrich feathers of Rio’s Carnival parade? Fonseca’s narrator, a film director, is amazed to find himself suddenly the custodian of such a valuable horde after the nocturnal visit of a young dancer who he later learns from the television news has been murdered. This windfall will allow him to film a story by the famous Russian writer Isaac Babel about whom he is passionate. Before he even has a script in hand, the director finds himself pursued by Brazilian smugglers and flying towards Berlin where a web of skulduggery – literary and political – waits to ensnare him. (Bloomsbury)

The Taker and Other Stories (Open Letter, 2008). Translated by Clifford E. Landers.

From the Publisher: Most widely admired for his short fiction, The Taker and Other Stories is Fonseca’s first collection to appear in English translation, and it ranges across his oeuvre, exploring the sights and sounds of the modern landscape of Rio de Janeiro. Rubem Fonseca’s Rio is a city at war, a city whose vast disparities—in wealth, social standing, and prestige—are untenable. In the stories of The Taker, rich and poor live in an uneasy equilibrium, where only overwhelming force can maintain order, and violence and deception are essential tools of survival. (Open Letter)

Rubem Fonseca at Wikipedia

The Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012 is a Community Meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. By Friday of each week participants try to write a blog post about crime fiction related to the letter of the week. Click HERE to visit the contribution of other participants.