Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Necropolis” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  192 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Upon recovering from a prolonged illness, an author is invited to a literary gathering in Jerusalem that turns out to be a most unusual affair. In the conference rooms of a luxury hotel, as bombs fall outside, at times too close for comfort, he listens to a series of extraordinary life stories: the saga of a chess-playing duo, the tale of an Italian porn star with a social...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Europa Editions (first published 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Necropolis, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Necropolis

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 392)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Parts is parts.

Gamboa assembles several stories under the umbrella of a recuperating author’s experience at a conference without a discipline, set in a Jerusalem under fire. But to me, each of the stories was an assembly of events that didn’t build on each other or add up to anything, and the stories didn’t really add up to a larger whole either. There include: a Count of Monte Cristo tale involving corrupt paras in Columbia, an entrepreneurial, reputedly resiliant porn acress who argues her fil...more
Joe Cummings
“Necropolis, “ a translation by Howard Curtis of Necrópolis by the Columbian writer Santiago Gamboa , is a strange book indeed, especially when you consider that it is the first of Gamboa’s work to be published in English. What launched its publication was its winning the La Otra Orilla Literary Award in 2009. At that point Gamboa was [and still is] considered an important writer in the new McOndo school of Latin American writing. Although some of his works are available in translation in sevent...more
This is a maddening book.

Once, a reporter asked Bob Dylan what one of his songs was about. Dylan replied that it was about 7 minutes. Necropolis is about 466 pages, that I'm sure of, what the author is trying to tell me, I'm not so sure.

Mr. Gamboa had me a good deal of the time. The set up was interesting - an invitation to a conference of biographers extended to a writer who was not a biographer, and who had not written anything in two years, but as all travel and accommodations were included,...more
Chad Post
This book has an interesting structure that is destined to frustrate a great number of readers . . . The first 150-or-so pages of the book set up the main plot: the narrator (a famous Colombian author living in Italy, just like Gamboa) attends a conference on biography taking place in Jerusalem. Interspersed among his chapters about the conference are three long(ish) chapters representing one Jose Manturana's talk at the conference about the "Ministry of Mercy," an evangelical church that, accor...more
Full Stop

Review by Scott Beauchamp

Santiago Gamboa is a storyteller. This sounds like so general a statement that it doesn’t communicate anything, but not all novelists are interested in telling stories. There are novels about ideas, or language, or about the idea of language. There are novels that subvert the spirit of simple narration by reveling in our failures to understand one another. These novels all tend to fall under the banner of modern or postmodern, whic...more
Annie Primera
No, de verdad no. No hay nada en todo este maldito libro que se pueda salvar.
Robbie Bruens
Necropolis is a novel of astonishing intelligence, imagination, and insight. With this book, Santiago Gamboa quickly ascends to my pantheon of literary gods alongside Bolaño and Borges. Gamboa definitely fits into the same literary tradition, with the influence of Bolaño in particular very present in the style and content of this book, though it by no means feels like a copycat, quite the contrary in fact - Necropolis is its own sexy animal. What I mean to say is if you like those aforementioned...more
This book really got me thinking: what does it mean to say a novel is "dreamlike"? Necropolis does feel like a series of strange dreams, but this is not the florid psychotropic dream-world of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this is more like Borges or even Kafka, a maddening dream where the same things keep happening, and everything seems fraught with some significance that hangs just outside the reach of your understanding. A dream where when you wake up you're not sure how you would explain it to some...more
Centered in Jerusalem during a raging and bomb-dodging war, the annual biographer's conference is held and the guests are as varied in their literary contributions from the porn industry to exiled and award winning African poets. Narrow escapes and the conflict of the solitary man redeemed only by God propels the characters in their quests to know and aid each other. They tell their stories so that they may disclose their relationships, dishonesty and truths before a possible attack blasts them...more
Kate Bradley
Necropolis is sumptuously written and beautifully translated into English. Against the backdrop of a surreal conference in war-torn Jerusalem, Gamboa weaves together stories of individuals fighting to remain individuals in the face of adversity, battling with drug abuse, extreme poverty, war, governmental corruption, sexual violence and bad luck. As the characters discuss their own struggles, the protagonist, a writer at the conference, struggles with the book's central mystery,and the reader st...more
Oct 23, 2013 Alan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Macho men
Recommended to Alan by: Serendipity
{...I}t is easier to do without things that do not yet exist{...}
Necropolis, p.19
Paperlessness is perhaps unstoppably upon us, but despite recommendation engines and databases aplenty, one thing that still cannot easily be matched by the online world is the simple serendipity of trawling through shelves in a library or bookstore, pulling out things that catch one's eye and leafing through them... performing a digital search using one's actual digits. That is how I found Colombian author Santiag...more
Ricardo Lourenço
“As vidas são como as cidades: se são limpas e ordenadas, não têm história. É na desgraça e na destruição que surgem as melhores.”

E é na desgraça e destruição que têm origem as diferentes histórias que constituem Necrópole. Histórias de desgraça e destruição, mas também histórias de resistência e perseverança, de vícios irrefreáveis e paixões reprimidas, que nos enriquecem como só as histórias da vida o podem fazer.
O romance tem início em Roma, onde um escritor Colombiano recupera de um período...more
El libro es muy entretenido. La trama es muy buena y el libro atrapa, aunque al final me parece que quedan faltando algunas cosas por explicar, supongo que el autor las deja a la interpretaci�n del lector.

La crudeza con que narra hechos de violencia y sexo son bastante expl�citas y resaltan cuando al poco rato le da el mismo tratamiento a detalles "al parecer" nimios como la compra de un sandwich de pollo con una coca cola diet.

Tambien me queda la duda de si el autor tiene alguna clase de fijac...more
Félix Miguel Rosario-Ortiz
En 'Necrópolis' se ejemplifica el arte como subterfugio, mejor aún, como escape o como intento de reorganizar y relacionarse con el caos. En esta novela todo es fuga; desde el mismo Maturana, un hombre que se inventa a sí mismo y que interacciona con un Mesías que, a su vez, es otro invento mitificado... Por eso cobra sentido el congreso entre biógrafos; sujetos reunidos en medio de una guerra, que casi no existen, sino que existen sus objetos de estudio.

Al final, el espacio en el que transcurre...more
I am enjoying this!
It's playful, eduride and plot-driven. It's also full of obscure references that feel as though they've been put in purely for my satisfaction. I feel that I recognise aspects of the authors (or translators) life through these chance details. (Can there be many other readers with a liking for 'The Sugarcubes', 'The Parliament Of Birds', the world of chess, a fixation on all things 'anal', and the poetry of Luis de Góngora?)..
Few books provide a secure distraction in which you...more
An unnamed writer attends a conference on biography in war torn Tel Aviv. As the shelling escalates, the some of the conference attendees present their interconnected biographical or autobiographical writings. Are these true stories? Does it matter? Thought provoking, unpredictable, engrossing, sensual, heartbreaking, and funny -- I could list many adjectives and they could probably describe some part of this unusually rich read. Sadly, this is the only work of Gamboa's that is available in Engl...more
Long rambling book about memory, stories, words, lies, all mixed together with literary allusions and games. The narrator attends a conference on the subject of memory, and in the process hears personal stories. The Necropolis of the title is a war-torn Jerusalem.
The trouble is - as one story is told, then another negates it. Who - if anyone - tells the whole truth about their story? Is memory to be trusted or not?
A long book with the feel of something important not quite achieved.
Rémi Heart
First book, I got as present, it was cool, is not my type of books for reading but I enjoyed pretty much, haha by now I dont even remerb the ending, but I just know ti was pretty good to read.
so much sexual content. geez. But from how things went, it made me wonder whether that was a way to criticize our society along with the world of authors and those in publishing or whether this was all just straight up serious. The guy's death remained a mystery and no one solved what happened. And the ending was just "what the f". My mind was warped after finishing it. I guess I wasn't cut for this book.
Brenda Mejia
is a really good book, even though it doesnt have a traditional end... what I dislike from the book is that it have some time conflicts like for example, in the 90s no one would talk in terms of Euro, every single character no matter where they were had "diet coke and chicken sandwich" and the fact that the dialogues are written in paragraph makes you get confused on identify who is saying what.
A contemporary Decameron set amid a war-torn Jerusalem where a group (including a porn star and charlatan) comes together for a bizarre conference on Biography and Memory. Gamboa is a master of the grotesque and oddly illuminating aspects of the psyche. Equal parts depraved and hilarious, Necropolis intermingles stories of a burgeoning faith in the wreckage of the Holy Land.
Becky Buchanan
Loved the flow! Very interesting stories within the story...some quite touching. Could have done without the graphic porn detail. Sorry, just can't buy porn as a literary device. Liked the contradictions between war and peace, rich and poor and what makes life meaningful. Some Interesting insights.
I absolutely loved this novel! The voices of each one of the characters are refreshing and very original.
If Latin American literature is your thing, this is a must read novel.
Is a pretty good book I like it a lot, but the end... Was not as good as I expected, could be better Actuallly I did not like the end at all.. But the rest was great... Love it!
Laurent Szklarz
A very smart novel which is , in fact, a collection of short stories put together to create a plot.
The insight of the author into character analysis is pretty amazing .
Good book in a similar vein to Gabriel Garcia Marquez- told in the form of stories by each speaker attending a conference in Jerusalem
Daniel Posada
me gustaría escapar a la isla de Wanda se ve un buen lugar para escapar de la camiza de fuerza que es la realidad.
A truly wonderful, but rambling, story of a writers' conference with Middle East conflict for flavor
I liked reading this book. I'm not sure it added up to what the author hoped it would.
Oct 22, 2012 Carol marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Will I ever finish...Been reading since September I think...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Secret History of Costaguana
  • The Armies
  • Soledades
  • A Breath of Life
  • The Dark Bride
  • The Tango Singer: A Novel
  • A sombra do que fomos
  • The Sickness
  • El caso Neruda
  • The Murder of Halland
  • A obscena senhora D
  • The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira
  • Monsieur Pain
  • Tirano Banderas
  • This Is Not the End of the Book
  • Secrecy
  • The Madonna on the Moon
  • The Cardboard House
Born at Bogotá, he studied literature at the Javerian University of Bogotá. He travelled to Spain where he remained until 1990 and graduated in Hispanic Philology at the University of Alcalá de Henares. He then moved to Paris, where he studied Cuban Literature at the Sorbonne.

He made his debut as a novelist with Páginas de vuelta (1995), a work which established him as one of the most innovative v...more
More about Santiago Gamboa...
El síndrome de Ulises Perder es cuestión de método Los impostores Vida feliz de un joven llamado Esteban Plegarias nocturnas

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »