Sound of Things Falling, The
Vasquez, Juan Gabriel
Antonio Yammara is a young law professor in the 1990s when he meets the shadowy Ricardo Laverde. But it is not destined to be a long-lived friendship - Ricardo is killed in a drive-by shooting on the streets of Bogota. In his obsession with finding out more about his friend's mysterious past, Antonio unearths the story of Ricardo's family back to the 1960s and in doing so, lays bare Colombia's troubled association with drugs and the subsequent cost to the nation and its citizens.
A literary thriller distinguished by memorable characters and superb writing. Translated from the Spanish. Winner of the Impac Dublin Literary Award 2014. [Larger font]
Comments from Groups
We all enjoyed this book; it gave a wonderful, although tragic insight into Colombian society, and the impact of the drug cartels. Hokianga 001
'The Sound of Things Falling' was generally well received by the group. After a slow start, reading it became absorbing. As the mystery deepened, the historical aspects of the story ( together with the human side of the drug trade) were sobering, and gave the reader a powerful insight into Colombia's recent past. Our discussion was once again robust. Some of us admitted we had learned much about the history of Colombia. Whangamata 002
We thought this was worth reading for the history of Colombia and the drug scene. However, we thought the author generalised too much and was rather preachy in places, which meant you didn't empathise with the characters. Could American Elaine have really been so naive? Wellington 021
Everybody loved it! Inspiring. Wanaka 005
This provoked quite a mixed reaction, with some members finding it very interesting to learn of an era and country we did not know much about. Others felt it rather left the reader hanging. Well written on the whole. Approval ratings 4-9! Masterton 008
Most found the book disjointed, and the narrator an unsympathetic character. On a positive note, it was interesting to read about Colombia, and was a good discussion starter on the drug trade. Christchurch 299
Fantastic book. Great thriller. Auckland 281
Only a few people had read the book. Most people didn't like the protagonist, but felt sympathy for the daughter of the drug runners. Found the information about the drug scene in Colombia interesting, but overall was not conveyed very well.
Women characters portrayed weakly. Great from historical point of view.
'The Sound of Things Falling' was good. We had an interesting and varied discussion, as we always do...
All our group really enjoyed this book. We found the style engaging, and felt we had a very real sense of life in Bogota/Colombia, and of the characters. Plenty of issues to think about, and the conclusion was not predictable.
Most of our group loved this book. The perfectly edited writing, the beautifully connected links ( so subtle) beneath each storyline, and the calmness and simplicity of the novel. A couple felt the pace was too slow and the story never connected satisfactorily. But overall very well liked. Thanks.
Not the best book we've had this year, but we had a good discussion.
As half of us enjoyed the book and the other half didn't, we had a very long discussion, and decided that the book was very interesting and deep.
We enjoyed the book. We enjoyed the story and the sense of mystery, we thought it was well-written and translated. most of our discussion was centred on the story and the characters. As our knowledge of the drug trade in Colombia was limited - we were aware of the impact it had on the world - it didn't lead to an in-depth discussion. As a read it was not predictable and kept our interest - we would recommend this book.
We all enjoyed this book. It was interesting to learn a bit of Colombian history, and the discussion notes sparked some deep discussions.
Very interesting learning about the drug association in Colombia and the Peace Corps involvement. Tragic results for all involved.
This book was found to be a bit "difficult" by the majority of the group, although 3 or 4 of us enjoyed it and found the story informative, the writing quite colourful, and the insight into the illegal drug business interesting. Most of us knew little about Colombia and its history, and did find the setting covered totally new ground for us. The structure of the novel was clever and intricate, but the characters failed to engage us with any warmth. We would not recommend it to most people.
Very mixed reaction to this book fromour group. One person gave it 10 out 10, but another gave a 0 out of 10 and a couple of people never finished it. But we did have long discussions on the book and most had learnt about a subject which we had a superficial knowledge of. So there was interest in the subject and it was very informative, but the majority felt that it took a while to get into. A clever portrayal of post traumatic stress. A few of us regretted not reading the book notes to start with which gave a good historical background which the book itself didn't.
The time and place this book is set in is interesting and some of the author's descriptions are engaging, unfortunately this is where the merits of this book end. The narrative feels disjointed and the plot is difficult to find, let alone follow. Characters that seem central are dropped out during the story and it finishes with no resolution at all. The end of the story leaves a strong feeling of dissatisfaction!