You can picture myself like this while and after reading the book Do you want to know why The criticism This is mainly a book to criticize society, and specifically, Colombia s society And it does it in a very explicit and cruel way I know that people tend to avoid criticism and problems I include myself in there , so that s why I made faces like that one of the gif Our Lady of the Assassins originally published as La Virgen de los Sicarios is about this man, Fernando, who is old and returns to Medell n There he meets Alexis, the Angel, and begins a romantic relationship with him Well, it turns out Alexis is an assassin, a hired assassin, sicario And there begins the critic.
This is certainly not a book for everyone It is very cruel and existentialist The criticism covers aspects such as religion, violence, injustice, etc So, it is yet another book in the category I call black white , that is, you like it or you hate it.
Also, you might want to know that the author is misogynist There are very crude comments about his hatred towards women, and that got me very angry sometimes I let it pass because the narration got me captivated and horrified until the ending, but still, it is an useful fact that you have to consider before reading the book.
Today, I told someone who recommended me this book that I had read it After discussing a little about it, he started to say that some people see this book with bad eyes because of the bitterness in it I agree with him I ve read in some negative reviews about it people saying that same phrase We don t like to be exposed to reality, and that s what Fernando Vallejo does with Our Lady of the Assassins.
Anyway, I really recommend this book I learned a lot of things from it, but wait a minuteSaying that does not mean that I recommend it to everyone If you re psychologically prepared to everything I ve said, then you re welcome to the world of Our Lady of the Assassins, if not, then you d better leave it alone.
Der Ich Erz Hler, Ein Gebildeter, Lterer Mann, Streift Mit Alexis, Seinem Jungen Geliebten, Durch Die Trostlosen Slums Von Medellin Wohin Sie Auch Gehen, Sie Hinterlassen Stets Eine Blutspur Der Taxifahrer Wird Frech Das Wird Mit Dem Tod Bestraft Andere Haben Sich Nichts Zuschulden Kommen Lassen, Ihr Blo Es Vorhandensein Wird Ihnen Zum Verh Ngnis Doch Auch Den Engelsch Nen, Fast Noch Kindlichen M Rder Wird Sein Schicksal EreilenEin Roman Wie Ein Film Von Tarantino Eine Leiche Auf Jeder Seite, Eine Gottesl Sterung In Jedem Absatz Vallejo Schreibt Mit Den F Usten, Und Seine S Tze Treffen Einen Dort, Wo Es Weh Tut Le Monde If Medellin in this novel is an exagerration of Manila, then I hope this novel, Our Lady of the Assassins, is but a brilliant exaggeration of the real Medellin Look Manila the slum areas, tightly packed houses, densely populated, people breeding like flies, poor, inexhaustible source of all kinds of criminals Medellin in this novel the same They call these poor areas the comunas Manila NPA hit squad, Alex Boncayao Brigade, ordinary hired killers, guns for hire, some walk, nonchalantly shoots their victims usually in the head then casually walk away some riding in tandem in their favorite motorcycles, one driving, the other doing the shooting Medellin the same, even the style of killing, down to the motorcycle Here, they re called them Sicarios assassins Manila plenty of churches carrying the names of saints and the various appellations of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, hired killers going to these churches with their families when not working some doing the killings within their vicinity when circumstances warrant Medellin the same Here, the young Sicarios bless their bullets with holy water, pray that they bullets don t miss their targets, go into confession for their murders, and wear blessed scapulars to protect them from evil Manila corrupt and or incompetent politicians government officials mouthing meaningless platitudes about total wars they are waging against corruption, poverty and illegal drugs Medellin the same Manila favorite dumping grounds of dead bodies within the peripheries of the metropolis Medellin the same The only difference in Medellin, there are vultures who descend upon these murdered victims as they rot Manila drug lords becoming honorable politicians or becoming kingmakers or close allies of politicians Medellin the same Manila population predominantly Roman Catholic Medellin the same Manila the local askal, street dog, the asong kalye Medellin the gozque , a stray dog, mongrel or mutt Manila the Arroyos headed by the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now being charged with election fraud, massive corruption Medellin the arroyos open sewers, another favorite dumping place of dead bodies In one scene here the Sicario and his gay lover chance upon a fatally injured gozque in an arroyo which they knew they had to shoot to end its suffering The young Sicario who had shot around 150 people to death in the exercise of his profession couldn t shoot the dog out of pity Manila Gloria, widely known to be a close friend of a very rich gambling lord in her province andMedellin gloria a Colombian cake made with puff pastry and filling of guava jelly.
Goodreads does not even have an English version of this book and my copy itself contains no information whatsoever about the author I do not know if this is pure fiction, or partly based on true events, or semi autobiographical or what The narrator, however, is named Fernando no surname , he s gay, moneyed, a bachelor, and he had two successive boy lovers, both scapular wearing assassins His unending rants about corruption in his country Colombia , against the eternally spiralling violence in his city Medellin, against the God who is everywhere but does nothing and, therefore, for him, cannot possibly exist , often reach the absolute heights of orgasmic frenzy that, coupled with the symmetry, elegance and beauty of the killings being administered by the assassins here sometimes against each other , they transport you to this rarified atmosphere of watching a film by Quentin Tarantino directed by him when his blood vessels pulsate with first class heroin twenty four hours a day.
A must read book for those who love peace and quiet.
Paramilitary vs the guerrilla What s new in Colombia Okay, so the book itself is 14 year old now, but the twist here doesn t come from setting It s in the age difference between the narrator and his boyfriend, a unique ability to make the 2nd person sound like like a soliloquy or a direct address, or the reverence for the pantheon of Catholic mythology outside of heteronormativity.
First, I did not read the Spanish edition, it is available in English for those who can t get enough of senseless, bloody mayhem This is about 1990s Medellin, Columbia s second largest city and arguably, the world s most violent The reign of terror of cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar resulted in over 6800 homicides in 1991 alone I believe just about every one of them was recorded in this volume s 132 pages In Vallejo s telling essentially everyone is both assassin and victim in the face of abject poverty there is no moral code blanketing anyone The Wild West seems like a cotillion by comparison The assassins grow ever younger as the death toll rises these are wide eyed pre adolescents and heavy lidded teenagers who make contract hits and in the absence of contracts kill out of sheer jealousy or boredom Family grudge a bullet to the forehead have something I want a bullet to the temple walking down the street minding your own business at the wrong time your number s up witness to a hit a bullet to the back of the head to ensure silence When life is this cheap what are consequences Vallejo writesNeither in Sodom nor in Gomorrah nor in Medellin nor in Colombia are there innocents here, everything that exists is guilty and if it goes on reproducing itself, even so The poor produce poor and misery produces misery, and the misery there is, the killings there are, and the killing there is, the dead bodies there are Such is the law of Medellin, which will henceforth rule throughout the globe Mark my wordsHe musesThe fleeting nature of human life doesn t worry me what worries me is the fleeting nature of death the great haste they re in round here to forget The most momentous death is erased by the next soccer match The tone is chilling and deadpan The perfect bedtime story for Quentin Tarantino.
There are a lot of books that I have not read, but I have a feeling that it is probably quite accurate to say that Vallejo s Our Lady of the Assassins is one of the most hallucinatory, incandescent, and to use an adjective that I like demented novels ever written It actually does not read as a novel it feels like an unstoppable confession and damning denunciation It is shocking and fascinating Suffocating and overwhelming And also, in an unexpected way, extraordinarily moving It is as much the controversial painting of the fierce love that an older, intellectual, and jaded man feels for an angelic looking male teenager whose activity is to kill basically whomever crosses his path, as it is the incendiary, unflinching portrait of the city of Medellin, Colombia, in the midst of the epic wars led by the drug cartels in the eighties and nineties The city where the author is born, and which he knows intimately becomes the nightmarish, yet dreamy in some instants, siege of an apocalyptic descent into an inferno that is entirely man made, and where absolute greed and corruption, vicious class warfare, unfettered political ambitions, and the erosion of culture, all play a disastrous role Fernando, the narrator who happens to be the older man, who happens to wear the same name as the author spills his love for the city of his youth as much as his hatred of what it has become through pages and pages of intense, unashamed, savage, and relentless anger from which emerges, pure in its absoluteness, his strangely beautiful love for Alexis, a 16 year old prostitute and a sicario a contract killer working for the local mafia Our lady of the assassins is a burning song of incredible brutality, homosexual erotic passion, and social disgust, ardently carried by Vallejo s haunted prose The violence is extreme and never stops It actually gets worse and worse Alexis killings are like a morbid and constantly jarring leitmotiv that his lover accepts as if they were inevitable, and in a sense, they are, as they appear to be the only way the adolescent who comes from abject poverty can survive Fernando rants, eructs, vomits, explodes, incriminates, condemns, laments, execrates His writing scorches, and nobody escapes his wrath or his contempt nobody except Alexis, who is an appallingly cold murderer as much as an irresistible angel One could say that he is the ultimate exterminating angel Religion, actually, plays a huge role in the story, especially through the presence, in Medellin and in the narration, of multiple baroque churches whose space is considered sacred even by the most implacable killers All seek the protection of the Virgin Mary The story takes an unforeseen, tragically ironic turn, toward the end it adds dramatically to the feeling of sad hallucination that permeates the whole novel from beginning to end As realistic and, I imagine, truthful as the book is in its depiction of the hell that Medellin has become, it always bathes in a phantasmagorical atmosphere of doom, febrility, and transcendence It is a balance that Vallejo achieves mostly through his flamboyant style Our lady of the assassins is deeply disturbing, but also heartbreaking As a work of literature, it is sumptuously exhilarating Horror and beauty mix so intricately under Vallejo s pen that they become one The author is merciless in his accusations, and his gargantuan knowledge of history, politics, and art, allows him to bounce back from one eviscerating comment or description to another, creating a delirious yet remarkably accurate portrait of a world falling apart Killing and surviving are the only games in town amidst the slaughter, love and desire, even when tainted by money, seem to be the sole thing that can bring out the humanity in some of the characters Alexis loves Fernando, and maybe that is his redemption Hope, as we know it, does not exist I read the book in French I doubt any translation, whatever the language, can do justice to the original text in Spanish Still, I think I was allowed to perceive the frenzied lavishness of Vallejo s writing in all its intensity I certainly felt its power to devastate but also to horrify, and could admire its literary magnitude Our Lady of the Assassins is a major achievement Obviously, and deliberately, Vallejo is miles away from the tradition of magical realism that has become the most celebrated face of Latin America literature Oscillating between exacting realism and feverish poetry, his novel is unlike anything I ve read It will definitively remain one of the most profound reading experiences I have had in a long time.
La Virgen de los Sicarios Our Lady of the Assassins is harsh, pitiless, angry and funny The narrator, a middle aged gay man returning to the city of his upbringing, recounts his involvement with two youths, both killers for hire in the drug distorted economy of Medell n Theirs is a profession without a long term future Both come from las comunas , the high slums of Medell n Vallejo s vertical geography of the city, with the many churches as the waymarks, is one of the striking features of the book A core image is of a ferocious downpour descending from the slums to inundate the city below until the sewers overflow The underlying theme of the novel is the corruption and moral degeneracy of Colombian society, rotted by the drug economy and by bureaucracy Sudden death is a way of life, and the living are the walking dead Yet for all the seediness, squalor and misery, the book is also a love story of sorts To judge by this book and by his fine novel of fraternal love, El Desbarrancadero, Fernando Vallejo is one of the most distinctive voices in Latin American fiction and deserves a wider readership Sadly the latter novel has not yet been translated into English, fifteen years after its publication.
This novel from Colombia was a guided tour of hell The hell portrayed was Colombia itself, where young hitmen, kids even, were murdering and assassinating with or without cause Set in Medell n, the story was narrated by Fernando, an old gay grammarian , decrying the atrocities and brutalities of his birth place, which he had recently come back to Fernando had an affair with Alexis, a teenage hitman he took under his wing Alexis will be killed later in the novel, a spoiler shared right at the start of his story.
Alternating between ranting and resignation, Fernando was touring his foreign readers around the slums and seedy sides of Medell n, always making a detour around churches and stone monuments of the saints who silently listen to the prayers of victims and their sincere assassins When a government crackdown on a powerful drug cartel had ended its operations, several assassins in its employ suddenly found themselves without jobs They were left to wander the streets, still carrying guns and facing a larger number of potential targets anybody who exist and can be used for target practice The author Fernando Vallejo, like his narrator, was gay and a writer of a book on grammar After obtaining citizenship from Mexico in 2007, he renounced his Colombian citizenship It was evident from the novel s text that Vallejo wanted the city of Medell n the capital of hate to represent the wider, national culture of hate in Colombia The narrator s diatribes took on the Catholic church, the police, the drug cartels, the President, the power structure, all of his fellow citizens who brought Medell n and Colombia to the state of anarchy.
There was something fundamentally disturbing about Fernando describing the scenes of random killings in an almost detached voice When innocent bystanders became casualties unwitting or intentional in the story, the grammarian s irony could be pointed The puns could be troubling.
The taxi driver would no longer have to tolerate impertinent passengers, he was released from working Death released him Lady Death, the lover of justice, the number one boss, retired him With the momentum the man s rage had given the taxi, plus what the bullet added, it carried on until it hit a post and exploded, but not before taking out, in its crazy careering towards the other side of the street, a pregnant woman with two little kids, who d be having no , thus cutting short what was promising to be a long maternal career.
The language of hate in fiction was always a risky proposition The rhetoric of hate sometimes undercut portraits of violence and evil, especially when the loudness of curses and oaths tended to shout down the crimes or to create stereotypes of evil Another possible danger that narratives of hate was risking especially here, being told by an insider to outsiders gringos was a tendency to trivialize the issues by lending an exotic feel to the story, and to evil deeds permeating it Vallejo mostly avoided this trapdoor by producing a playful, darkly comic, and a very frank court summary.
originally published in Spanish in 1994 as La Virgen de los Sicarios, this novel was a harsh judgement on the ineptitude of authorities and the religious to stem the tide of violence in Medell n The state of hate had become the very way of life in the city The system in place was unable to prevent young men from taking up arms and firing them indiscriminately With ever increasing body count, Fernando at one point realized that the cinema and the novel are not enough to capture the reality of Medell n The gratuitous scenes in the novel already gave us an idea of the magnitude of Medell n reality The novel was adapted into a movie in 2000, directed by Barbet Schroeder and with the script written by Vallejo.
Medell n was considered the most dangerous city on earth in the 1980s After the disbanding of large drug cartels in the 90s, its homicide rate decreased by early 2000s It picked up once in 2008 09 before going down again The city was now overtaken by Cali also in Colombia as that country s most violent city, based on a recent global violence index.
What hatred It spills from the page until it becomes absurd Fernando the main character, not the author, one would assume hates everything and everyone He hates Colombia, he hates women, he hates poor people, and rich people, politicians and taxi drivers, music and television and football There s very little that he doesn t hate, and what he doesn t hate seems to be assassins Fernando is back in Colombia, in the city of Medellin, after many years of being away The city itself has crime and criminals than even the fictional Gotham, and the drug wars produced paid assassins who are getting younger and younger And once he s back, he hooks up with Alexis, an assassin and apparently prostitute, who ends up living with him and killing senselessly, for the smallest reasons Fernando doesn t like the neighbor who plays his punk too loud BANG Dead A taxi driver was insulting Dead.
It s absurd, and absurdly violent, but the style is superb Vallejo manages to create a bitter ramble about a dark world in which you never know when you ll get killed, in which he criticizes Colombia and all its faults, in which assassins pray to the Holy Virgin to give them steady aim when they kill their enemies And while Fernando would never kill another man, he seems to be drawn to assassins like a moth to a flame, and to enjoy being in the midst of killing.
It s bitter and raw, and definitely not for everyone, but it s fascinating and almost poetic.