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.
Santiago Gamboa was born in Bogotá, Colombia. His debut novel, Páginas de vuelta (1995), established him as one of the most innovative voices in Colombian literature. He has since published seven novels and two collections of short stories. His journalism appears regularly in El Tiempo (Colombia) and Cromos, and he is a regular contributor to Radio France International. Previously Colombia’s cultural attaché in New Delhi, he has lived in Rome and Paris, and currently lives in Calí, Colombia.