Monday, December 18, 2006

On the creation of a Colombian national identity through crime fiction

An article by Colombian author Santiago Gamboa.

According to Balzac, a "real novelist" must "plumb the depths of society, because the novel is no less than the secret history of nations." Balzac's observation about the power of fiction to reveal social truth applies with particular force to a country like Colombia, whose reality has been so distorted by its official history. History is typically written by the victors, so it tends to be blind before horrors committed by its authors while exaggerating the misdeeds of others. In many Latin American countries, history functions as just another podium for self-aggrandizing elites.

On the other side stands civil society—a society that suffers history, often in silence, a society to which so much is promised and so little delivered, a society that goes to the voting booth every four years with growing disenchantment, a society that suffers the dreams of its supposed prophets.
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