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A Gringa in Bogota: Living Colombia's Invisible War
by June Erlick
A multifaceted look at a city that has become a model for urban reform even with a war on its doorsteps, interwoven with thought-provoking meditations on living "on the hyphen" between U.S. and Colombian cultures.
Paperback, 174 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by University of Texas Press
(first published 2010)
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Its hard for me to argue with this author because she has been in Bogota longer, and more recently, than I have or ever plan to be. Much of what she says rings true and she contextualizes events, people, places within a broader landscape of politics, economics and history than I would know. So its quite good and worthwhile in that sense. On the other hand, she both romanticizes the Colombian people - they work so hard, they're so nice to her - and insists on pursuing an "invisible war" as a top ...more
As someone who knows what it's like to fall in love with a city despite its flaws, I absolutely loved this book. Erlick 's comparison of all the facets of life in Colombia thirty years ago to the present was thoughtful, openminded and entertaining. I'm confident others who aren't Latin Americanists or Colombia -philes like me would enjoy it as well. I will say I appreciated Erlick's multisided perspective on the conflict that continues to rage in many parts of the country.
Not magical realism - more like touring with a down to earth friend who's discovering the place and trying to learn what it's really like to live there. Gave it to an expat Colombian who was encouraged that she got past American headlines and noticed changes happening.