Juan Gabriel Vásquez

  • Songs for the conflagration
  • Literature

Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s new stories are about how seemingly trivial incidents can change a life from the ground up.
There is the young man whom the lottery spares from military service, while it sends his best friend to his death. Or the photographer who understands more than she bargains for at a meeting of big landowners. In some stories, it’s politics that throws people off course: a confident woman tries to assert herself against arch-conservative forces, but her hopes go up in flames.

Sometimes Juan Gabriel Vásquez takes the stage himself, trying to find out, for example, what happened between the members of the Mexican band he is accompanying on tour. Another time, he is an extra on the set of a film by Roman Polanski and is confronted with the painful breaks in the life of the famous director.

In his collection of stories Songs for the Conflagration, the acclaimed Colombian author raises questions in a whole new way about what shapes us and why. The haunting tone of his language exerts an irresistible pull.


Hybrid event

Foto: Nina Subin co / Schoeffling & Co