When Joseph Conrad was working on NOSTROMO in the early 1900s, and setting it in the fictional Latin American country of Costaguana, he found that his first-hand knowledge of the region, based on a couple of brief shore visits a quarter-century earlier, was insufficient. He therefore consulted friends who had spent greater time in northern South America and constructed a setting that is entirely believable, not only in its composite geography but also in its way of life and political turmoil. Now Colombian author Juan Gabriel VÃ¡squez imagines that Conrad might have had one further contact, JosÃ© Altamirano, born in Colombia but recently arrived in London as an exile from Panama, following the province’s secession from Colombia in the revolution of 1903. Writing now in 1924, the year of Conrad’s death, Altamirano believes that the novelist has stolen his life story and that of his country to make a fiction of his own, utterly obliterating him in the process.
June 18, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 19th-Century, 20th-Century, Colombia, Panama Canal, Real Event Fiction, Story Retold, Time Period Fiction Â· Posted in: Facing History, Latin American/Caribbean, South America, World Lit, y Award Winning Author