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The narrator of the story explains the history of Panama and Colombia to Joseph Conrad at the time when he Conrad is struggling with writing “Nostromo”. I struggled to begin with and then really got in to it.

The Secret History of Costaguana

Jan 21, Patricia O’Sullivan rated it really liked it. A bold historical novel from “one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature” Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Yo soy el que soy. However, I found it to be a somewhat difficult read, as it was filled secrefa far too many peripheral characters and too much inconsequential detail, which diluted the power of Altamirano’s narrative. Interestingly, when I read the book some years ago, I had read that Conrad based his account on the true history of Paraguay, not Panama.

Historia Secreta De Costaguana by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Jul 21, Michaela Dean rated it really liked it. With good reason, the young author won several literary awards and has been lauded by big names in Latin literature like Mario Vargas Llosa.

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Dec 14, Pickle Farmer rated it really liked it Shelves: Jose, as an unintentional witness to the Great Events of the revolution plays an integral part in the revolution that splits Panama from Colombia. Conrad uses this knowledge almost word for word with no reference to where he got the information and changes the place name to Costaguana. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Arno rated it it was ok Aug 08, We follow as Charlotte is murdered by a deserter and Jose is thrust into depression.

Altamirano’s story begins in the mid-nineteenth century with his father, Miguel Altamirano, a journalist who was an idealist, activist, and booster of his home country. In retrospect, I guess I’m slightly glad I read it, but only slightly. For those Colombian politicians who barely sixty years before were the inhabitants of a colony, the mere attention of that prophet, the author of The Last Day of the Condemned Man and of Les Miserables, the defence counsel of humanity, was the greatest praise in the world.


The theme for my literature group for September is South American writing and this book was part of the list. The translation by Anne McLean was excellent. A knowledge of Joseph Conrad and of Panama-Colombia history would be useful, though it was kind of fun to read this and have no idea what was true and what wasn’t I definitely want to know if the anal abcess story is true!

He creates a character, Jose’ Altamirano, to narrate his convoluted and non-linear tale of nineteenth and early twentieth century Colombia and Panama, a time when the French attempted to construct a canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific but were defeated by Nature in the form of disease, insects, unbearable heat, and earthquakes. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

The Secret History of Costaguana was an instructional and interesting novel.

He was born a bastard; followed his father’s life and story; made a family and watched as it broke apart; took part in a revolution that he cared nothing about; told his story and it was twisted and he died having lived for nothing and regretting many decisions that he made. The facts about Joseph Conrad are historically accurate. Returning to the country after his father’s death with his new bride, Charles ihstoria an opportunity to make the mine work, and does–to the detriment of his life, his wife, and his companions.

In the early twentieth century, a struggling Joseph Conrad wrote his great novel Nostromo, about a South American republic he named Costaguana. I know, I know: This particular one is a bit convoluted as it is non- linear and at some place there are just far too many references to costaguanna figures secretx in particular and events- a familiarity with Colombian history might help but for others like me, it is an education, albeit a exasperating one at places.

Dave rated it it was ok Nov 07, The plot action revolves around a shipment of silver stored waiting for shipment, and its historiia in the face of yet another revolution sweeping into the city from the historiia.

The speed with which names and events are thrown at you is daunting. Published June 9th by Riverhead Books first published Culturally, politics takes a bigger role in peoples’ lives in Colombia than here in the United States. Actualmente vive cerca a su ciudad natal en Colombia.


He could have stopped the cession of the Panama territory, but chose not to. There is a good bit of history involved but it is told in an amusing way. Second, he kisses his teenaged daughter goodbye while she sleeps and heads off to London with hardly a backward glance. Colombian novelist Juan Gabriel Vasquez weaves this Review title: What happened to her? Emilia rated it it was ok Dec 02, The first chapter promises a brilliant novel that intersperses the personal history of the fictional narrator, with the “true” history of end of nineteenth century Colombia and Panama and the “secret” history of Joseph Conrad and how he came to write Nostromo.

Be the first to ask a question about Historia secreta de Costaguana. Jun 04, Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it Shelves: Refresh and try again. It tells a very basic story of the beginnings of the Panama Canal and how the split between Panama and Colombia came about.

In this novel, you have to pay attention, or you’ll find yourself scratching your head and going back a page or two to catch up. In addition, Altamirano watches battling political factions in his country spin ideas and events to their version of the truth.

Historia Secreta de Costaguana : Juan Gabriel Vasquez :

The book has been well researched and the political facts are accurate. Es una lectura poco lineal, que zigzaguea en tiempo y lugar, pero que al final te explota en la cara con la verdad. Bogged down by too many words for some things, the visual media like film and painting are more appropriatethe story really doesn’t start cracking until the scene is set and the action starts. The novel he is working on is set in South America, where he briefly captained a ship along the Colombian coast, but he finds himself unable to recall details about the country or its people, as he spent very little time there.