An unforgettable yet humane novel that takes us into the heart of Colombia’s brutal society, by one of the country’s most renowned writers
I was alone when someone pounded on my door. Who could it be?
So begins Tono the Infallible, Evelio Rosero’s gripping novel about an intense relationship between a writer and a sociopath. Visited by his friend (a kind of Colombian Rasputin) seemingly at the verge of death, the writer, Eri, looks back on the arc of both of their lives. Unique in both its tone and its structure, the novel takes us from their student days (school fights, playground revelations, and an unforgettable trip to the seaside) into their adult years, involving rumors of a hippie cult and a bizarre raucous theater exhibit of history’s most violent crimes. Tono uses his charm and wealth—as well as reputed magical powers—to manipulate others, but it isn’t until the end of the book that the devastating truth is revealed—and how true is it? Reminiscent of the fiction of Roberto Bolano and the films of Alfonso Cuarón, this brilliant novel takes us into the heart of his country’s darkness, creating an unforgettable portrait of a society where humanity still endures, despite its brutality.
About the Author
Evelio Rosero is one of Colombia's most important living writers. The author of 37 books that have been translated into 12 languages, Rosero won the Tusquets Prize in 2006, the Foreign Fiction Prize in 2009, and Colombia's National Literature Prize in 2014. He lives in Bogotá.
Anne McLean lives in Toronto and has translated the works of authors including Javier Cercas, Julio Cortázar, and Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and Enrique Vila-Matas.
Victor Meadowcroft is based in Brighton, England, and translates from the Spanish and Portuguese.
Rosero’s prose, translated with lyricism by McLean and Meadowcroft, conveys the characters’ horrifying human nature with aplomb.
— Publishers Weekly
Rosero affirms unashamedly that literature can and should change social reality.
— Antonio Ungar - BOMB
The Armies is a disturbing allegory of life during wartime, in which little appears to happen while at the same time entire lives and worlds collapse.
— The Times (London)
Evelio Rosero is one of the most important and innovative Colombian writers working today. His voice is essential, in terms of using fiction to make sense and shed light on Colombia's violent past and present. Tono the Infallible is a valuable contribution to Rosero's oeuvre: the novel takes us on one darkly picaresque adventure after another, with the disturbingly twisted titular character. Like Patrick Bateman and Amy Dunne, Tono easily joins the ranks of memorable literary villains. With this novel Rosero has proven himself as an author decidedly unafraid to ask difficult questions about the nature and origin of evil and cruelty. This is a brave, uncompromising, and unforgettable work.
— Julianne Pachico