Drugs, Diplomacy and Disappearances: “Night Prayers” by Santiago Gamboa (Europa Editions)

On Art and Aesthetics

Night Prayers by Santiago Gamboa translated by Howard Curtis (2016, Europa Editions)

Last year I posted on a wonderfully crafted novel called Ties by Italian writer Domenico Starnone (translated by Jhumpa Lahiri) published by New York-based Europa Editions. Another great figure on their list is Santiago Gamboa (born 1965), a Colombian author known for his literary thrillers with an noir atmosphere. Educated in Colombia, Spain and France, he made his debut in 1995. He now (I suppose) lives in Rome.

Yesterday I finished Gamboa’s Night Prayers (other books of his available in English are Return to the Dark Valley and Necropolis). The novel was an utterly immersive experience. Fast-paced, dark, stimulating, deep in its cultural and philosophical references and observations. Plot-wise, it was pretty standard and predictable stuff. The general afflictions of Latin America—drugs and prostitution and crime and corruption—as I have already covered, taking the case of…

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