A Colombian philosophy student is arrested in Bangkok and accused of drug trafficking. Unless he enters a guilty plea he will almost certainly be sentenced to death. But it is not his own death that weighs most heavily on him but a tender longing for his sister, Juana, whom he hasn't seen for years. Before he dies he wants nothing more than to be reunited with her.
As a boy, Manuel was a dreamer, a lover of literature, and a tagger. Juana made a promise to do everything in her power to protect him from the drug-and violence-infested streets of Bogotá. She decided to take him as far from Colombia as possible, and in order to raise the money to do so, she went to work as a high-priced escort and entered into contact with the dangerous world of corrupt politicians. When things spun out of control she was forced to flee, leaving her beloved brother behind.
Juana and Manuel's story reaches the ears of the Colombian counsel general in New Delhi, and he tracks down Juana, now married to a rich Japanese man, in Tokyo. The counsel general takes it upon himself to reunite the two siblings——a feat that may be beyond his power.
Fans of both Roberto Bolaño and Gabriel García Márquez will find much to admire in this story about the mean streets of Bogotá, the sordid bordellos of Thailand, and a love between siblings that knows no end. With the stylishness that has earned him a reputation as one of "the most important Colombian writers" (Manuel Vázquez Montalbán), Santiago Gamboa lends his story a driving, irresistible rhythm.
Novelist, short story writer, and journalist, Santiago Gamboa was born in Colombia in 1965. His American debut, published by Europa in 2012, was the novel Necropolis, winner of the Otra Orilla Literary Prize. He is also the author of Night Prayers (Europa, 2016) and Return to the Dark Valley (Europa 2018).