Have you heard of Gabriel Garcia Marquez?
I thought you’d have.
And I bet you have not heard of German Castro Caycedo. Unlike Garcia Marquez, Colombia’s most famous writer, German focuses on non-fiction. His prolific work has covered an incredible range of topics that expose Colombia’s modern and complex social landscape; to name a few:
- “Mi alma se la dejo al diablo” (May the devil take my soul) tells the story of an adventurer lost in the amazon jungle, and his journey to death
- “El Karina” (The Karinai), a Tom Clancy-like story of a submarine full of weapons with a nefarious destiny: Colombia’s marxist guerrilla fighters
- “El Hueco” (The Hole) showing the amazing pull of the ‘American dream’ for poor latinamericans, and the entire eco-system that exists around the illegal transportation of Colombians to the USA through the Mexico frontier.
- “La Bruja” (The Witch) describes the decadence of a troubled society where both presidents and notorious drug dealers are consulting the same occultist
- “En Secreto” (Secretly) is an amazing collection of four interviews with leaders of the three sources of power, blood and violence that have sunk Colombia in a spiral of death and corruption. The first two represent the marxist guerrilla that was born with the ideals of creating a society with more social justice, but degenerated into large-scale kidnapping and extortion rings (Jaime Bateman and Jaime Arenas). The third interview with Carlos Castano, the leader of paramilitary armies, shows the other end of the violent spectrum. It finishes with an interview to one of Colombia’s most infamous and well-known drug-dealers, Pablo Escobar; who fought Colombia’s intention to extradite him to the USA by sowing fear in the syle of a pure terrorist: placing bombs in civilian centres of Colombia’s majour cities
If you like the style and stories of non-fiction writers such as Mark Bowden, you’ll probably enjoy the books by this illustrious Colombian writer. The catch: you will likely need to learn to read in Spanish, as I am yet to come across one of these books in English. I still can’t understand why his books have not been translated into other languages, but that seems to be the case