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Delirium [Kindle Edition]

Laura Restrepo
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Delirio is a Colombian story, an expression of everything that fascinates us about Colombia, including what's terrifyingly fascinating. Restrepo has a total mastery over what she writes, an astonishing but absolute mastery. Delirium is one of the finest novels written in recent memory" (José Saramago)

"A book and a half: stunning, dense, complex, mind-blowing" (Washington Post)

"A disconcertingly lovely, vivid, utterly persuasive" (New York Times)

"Haunting...her unhinged heroine is a true mirror of a damaged and deranged society" (Guardian)

"Delirium has a determined and muscular narrative, with dry humour and a terrible sense of menace" (Daily Telegraph)

The Daily Telegraph

'Delirium has a determined and muscular narrative, with dry humour and a terrible sense of menace'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 415 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307278042
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (4 Sep 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RS7MM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #164,114 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deep psychological thriller 24 Jan 2012
By Joolz
Laura Restrepo is one of my favourite Latin American authors, and, despite the naff cover, this is a deep and satisfying psychological thriller. A husband returns from a four day business trip, having left his wife painting the house, only to find her eventually, on his return, in a hotel room, quite mad, and with total memory loss. This is his search for what happened to her while he was away, and the narrative, besides evoking the chaos and stress of modern day Columbia, leads the husband from clue to clue, some of which, though they seem ridiculous at first, turn out to be terrifying. The author is especially good at reproducing the speech patterns of the male narrator, as though he was telling you the story in a bar. (The translator has done a neat job of cutting though some of the ambiguities of the original text: the first person narrator, for instance, refers to himself most of the time in the third person, and by name. The translator has subtituted that name (Aguilar) for the first person "I". This immediately eliminates some of the initial confusion on starting this book and makes for an easier read, but does reduce the sense of "this is what happened to me" of the original.) This is a great read, from an author who never repeats the same genre twice.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tender, terrifying and absorbing 16 Mar 2008
By Goose
Delirium is a beautifully tender book that gives the reader the impression that from any effect a cause can be derived, that this cause can then be adapted and the effect removed. Anything that has been lost can be regained, if you are prepared to sacrifice everything for it.

It is this sacrifice that comes across more vividly than everything else; the protagonist is prepared to give up everything for a dubious result that is likely to be short-lived. But he thinks this trade-off is worth it; if for one morning every once in a while he can live in his idyllic paradise, he will do anything.

The book seduces the reader with hope, hope that rationality and adoration will (even temporarily) triumph over even the darkest delirium and despair, and allow for glimpses of pure happiness.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Splendid 25 April 2007
By Roberto Carlos Martinez (Author) - Published on
A great piece of literature. A master at her best. A female writer who understands not only human behavior but the effects of society on people and the power of memory. A great read for anyone looking for something different. This book is not only a representation of Colombia but a representation of Latin America.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm Delirious; You're Delirious 15 Jan 2012
By James W. Fonseca - Published on
Delirium drops us into the high-end world of modern Bogota, Colombia. These particular folks are families who hang out in fitness centers and travel to the United States. One main character is an unemployed professor who has hooked up with the daughter of a prominent drug family. She is more than he can handle and even if she weren't crazy, he'd be out of his league. (I'm reminded of the modern Italian novel The Natural Disorder of Things: A Novel which has a similar set-up.)

One day she disappears for a week and then suddenly reappears in a hotel deranged and distraught. A good part of the tension in the story is what happened to her? Thus, the title, Delirium. But the title could equally apply to just about every other main character in the book: the woman's mother who ignores all the infidelities around her and refuses to acknowledge that her son is gay; the professor who thinks this relationship is going anywhere, and the various drug-dealer characters. There is lots of local color of modern urban Colombia but also reminisces and flashbacks of the family's rural origin in German immigrants. Restepo also wrote The Angel of Galilea a story of a saint-like character in a modern drug-ridden Colombia slum.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong character has madness as reality 2 April 2008
By Armchair Interviews - Published on
From the opening quote by Gore Vidal, attributed to the great Henry James, to the end of Delirium, we are forced to piece together a life that Aguilar-who is an unemployed literature professor that now sells dog food for a living-is immersed in by being married to Agustina, who is, quite literally, mad. While the narrative is initially spotty with the point of view moving between each of the married unit, you can follow with great ease since they have completely different inner and outer monologues.

The action takes place in Bogóta, Columbia, where there is an immediate disdain for Americans as Aguilar fills in town and family history. Anyone with a physical ailment-and money-can go to Houston to be cured, however may come back to Columbia more messed up than they left (a minor commentary on the States' health care conundrum). Out of the blue, Aunt Sofi shows up at Aguilar's flat to take care of Agustina, although he isn't sure who this aunt really is and why she is at his apartment. Sofi seems to be able to calm Agustina's obsessive-compulsive side, but also works with her in persistently cleaning and lining water buckets all over the flat. This is an interesting portrayal of a woman's madness as well as the heated political environment in Columbia, which is why Aguilar is no longer teaching, as the university shut down because of the political unrest.

Author Restrepo explores the reality of madness and how it affects every societal caste system, government and family. While some things are ambiguous, such as the reason for Agustina's breakdown, the novel is an interesting look at insanity.

This is translated eloquently and is an exceptionally written book that looks at the demons we all have to face, in one way or another, it just depends on whether we can survive them.

Armchair Interviews agrees.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Madness of Politics or Politics of Madness? 26 May 2011
By Dale Pobega - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have been travelling through Colombia for the last few weeks and deliberately went about reading as many Colombian writers as possible (without the appellido "Garcia Marquez") before I left. Restrepo was a real revelation and I was very impressed by this novel. It deals quite movingly with a husband's attempt to keep on top of the "madness" consuming his wife --- in fact, a severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (I haven't come across anyone in contemporary literature writing about the subject of OCD which blights the lives of millions of people -- a brave and valuable insight in itself. Restrepo describes it as the "fear that won't stay still ... a growing beast that must be fed and that swallows everything up."

Aguilar's great labour of love is set against a number of related dysfunctional family histories which provide context for understanding Augustina (and Aguilar's) condition and conundrum. There is also the backdrop of Colombia sliding into social and political chaos -- the madness of its politics in the 80s and 90s -- which provides another fascinating dimension, especially for a reader fortunate enough not to have had to live through such traumatic times and social circumstances.

This is a really brilliant book. I look forward to reading more of Restrepo's work. A great, sadly unheralded, voice of Latin American literature (in English at least).
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delirio 5 Jan 2011
By Amanda Martin del Campo - Published on
I read this novel in Spanish and it was one of the best I have read in years. Restrepo is an amazing novelist and journalist, and her understanding of Columbian contemporary history shows through in all of her novels, but especially in this one. Delirium should be read for it's literary value, but also as a tool to better understand Latin America.
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