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Altamirano is horrified, however, to find himself written out of it and history altered.

Historia secreta de Costaguana

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. Bruno K rated it it was ok Dec 31, Hardcoverpages. The best lay source for the history of the isthmus and the canal is David McCullough’s Path between the Seas see my review herewhich Vasquez references in his author’s note.

Meanwhile our main character meets a French woman and has a daughter but experiences personal tragedy as collateral damage in the endless political wars.

Dec 14, Pickle Farmer rated it really liked it Shelves: Too much of the style seems like trite pastiche, the history is far too detailed with long sections that just list the generals and colonels who are fighting, and the “secret” history and Conrad portions never really come together in a satisfying matter and almost seem peripheral.

Andy rated it it was ok Oct 03, But in the end, you will find a love story, to whom and why I will leave to the reader to learn by reading this secret history. The theme for my xe group for September is South American writing and this book was part of the list. A Romance of Destiny. Part of what made this book a bit hard for me was all the names, se at a certain point I was just like well, I’m just going to keep reading and not be too fussed if I don’t know who everyone is, and that really worked for me.


Dec 06, Elaine Kozak rated it liked it. Jan 24, Susan rated it liked it. Jim rated it it was ok Jul 27, At the beginning of this century, Joseph Conrad, a Polish writer self-exiled to London to write in a second language of English and imperialism, wrote of a fictional country called Costaguana. Those that came from Los Llanos were called Llaneros and the term once again is used on many ocasions.

Historia secreta de Costaguana

secrtea But at that time our narrator did not know his father. I did not get along well with the narrative style of this book. If you want to understand the history of Colombia and the birth of Panama, this book is perhaps not the place to start. Eduardo rated it it was ok Mar 19, View all 3 comments.

Then, a classic tale emerges of a 3rd-world South American country modeled on Paraguay, supposedly racked by constant revolution, and peopled by native Indians, long-entrenched Spanish, and newer expatriate groups of English, Germans, and Italians. Third, we never get to know the source of the narrator’s income.

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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 histpria. It’s easy to get lost and somewhat bored along the way. However the story feels sidetracked when it covers Conrad’s travel in the Congo. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Conrad expends many thousands in his cinematic writing style of “turn on the camera and describe everything” in a seemless opening framing shot. In the early twentieth century, a struggling Joseph Conrad wrote his great novel Nostromo, about a South American republic he named Costaguana.


Squirrel rated it it was ok Dec 16, Speaking through the narration of Altamirano, a fellow Colombian who played secrrta role in both milestones of Colombian history, Vasquez’s delicate, deep, airy, and humorous account is in the end a love story, to whom and why I will leave to the reader to learn by reading this secret history. Jan 21, Patricia O’Sullivan rated it really liked it.

It tells a very basic story of hixtoria beginnings of the Panama Canal and how the split between Panama and Colombia came about. Chapinde rated it it was ok Mar 06, Now Conrad is dead, but the slate is by no means clear- Nostromo will live on and Altamirano must write himself back into existence.

When the book is published and Altamirano sees it, he feels cheated because the story is not his. Interestingly, when I read the book some years ago, Hustoria had read that Conrad based his account on the true history of Paraguay, not Panama.

The railroad monopoly and the diseases are all there.