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Criacuervo, published by Héctor Abad Faciolince’s Angosta Editores, is his second novel. It was included in Revista Arcadia’s list of the ten best books of 2017 and was a finalist in the National Book Award of the Ministry of Culture in Colombia. Echeverri Benedetti worked for the newspaper El Universal, and his writing has been published by the magazine El Malpensante and Universo Centro. In 2014, he won the National Book Award from the National Institute of the Arts in Bogota, for his first novel: Sin freno por la senda equivocada (El Peregrino Ediciones), presented at the Bogota International Book Fair in 2016, selected for the Colombian Ministry of Culture book prize in 2016 and regarded as one of the literary surprises or that year. In 2019 Random House published his third book, the short story collection La fiesta en el cañaveral. He currently lives in Jersey, United Kingdom.
Defeated and humiliated by the swift decline of his career as an Olympic swimmer, Adler Zweig has no other option but to consider how to rebuild his life. When he receives though the mail a photograph of Klaus, the brother he has not seen for over a decade, this raises the possibility of a meeting in a desert somewhere in northern Colombia. That’s where Klaus works as a diver for an oil rig. The person who sent him the picture, Cora Baumann, is an old friend from his childhood, and the ex-girlfriend of his brother. The meeting between Cora and Adler, which at the beginning is focused on the arrangements for the trip to the desert, soon unleashes a meticulous reflection on his own past and the devastation of his childhood but also the love that he has been repressing for Cora Baumann, which will end up costing him dearly.
Written with precision, the story of a truncated reunion between two brothers unfolds between the frigid streets of Berlin and the sweltering, inhospitable terrain of Colombia’s Guajira desert.
Echeverri Benedetti explores the void that opens up in our lives when we lose our anchors (parents, jobs), via two characters unable to stop the inevitably downward spiral of their lives, a final destination they seem well aware of. Besides arbitrary violence, the invisible threat and the tense, sinister mood lingering over these lives is that of the illusion of free will, of forging one’s own destiny.
“Orlando Echeverri Benedetti uses the metaphor of the desert to explore rootlessness, the void in our lives when we know where we come from, but not where we belong.” – Valentina Coccia, Vísperas (Spain)
“The second novel by Orlando Echeverri is positioning him as one of the most original voices of the new Colombian narrative. For this reason, we highly recommend this strange and amazing story published by Angosta Editores.” – Martin Franco, Revista Soho, Colombia
“The characters of Criacuervo are marked by transhumance and helplessness. In precise, controlled prose, the story of the Zweig brothers confronts the reader with the senselessness of emotional ties and of violence.” – Ángel Castaño Guzmán, El Espectador, Colombia
“Criacuervo is a leap into the void, an ode to fate, a nod to the forgotten tragedy of living life with no ambition other than getting lost in it.” – Santiago Benavides, El Tiempo, Colombia
211 pages – Original Language: Spanish (Angosta Editores, Colombia, 2017); Translations/Foreign Editions: Italian (Edicola, 2019), Spanish/Chile (Edicola, 2019)