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

La luz difícil

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,339 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Jacobo ha decidido morir. Un accidente de tránsito lo ha dejado parapléjico y con dolores tan fuertes, que le hacen la vida insoportable. David, su padre, se enfrenta a la más dura de todas las pruebas: ser testigo del proceso.
Mientras Jacobo viaja a un lugar de Estados Unidos donde su muerte sea posible, David soporta en Nueva York las horas aferrándose a la esperanza de
Paperback, 137 pages
Published 2011 by Alfaguara (first published January 1st 2008)
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 La luz difícil, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about La luz difícil

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,339 ratings  ·  183 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of La luz difícil
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third slim book I’ve read by Colombian author Tomas Gonzalez, translated to perfection by Andrea Rosenberg, and each packs a wallop in its own quiet way. He has this masterful way of mining emotions and depicting both beauty and despair and giving them voice.

In his first, In the Beginning Was the Sea, he captures the destruction of a couple who abandon the high life to take up residence in an undeveloped coastal area. That book was followed by The Storm, which depicts an arrogant fat
Kasa Cotugno
Thanks once again to archipelago books for making previously untranslated works available in English and thus raising the bar on what literature can be. Tomas Gonzalez tells David's story through his own words in language so eloquent and profound, I was reminded once again of why I love reading. David's life unfolds as he battles the effects of macular degeneration, an exceptionally cruel diagnosis for a renown painter who understood light and incorporated it into his work. Now, living alone wit ...more
Stephanie Jane
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-americas
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

Difficult Light is a very different novel to my previous Tomas Gonzalez read, The Storm, but I still found myself completely swept up into the world as he creates it. Gonzalez has a wonderful understanding of relationships within families and can deftly portray the slightest nuance of meaning to change the whole atmosphere of a scene. I felt this talent was vital for Difficult Light because, in the hands of a lesser author, this novel of over
Kamila Kunda
“Trudne światło” (“Difficult Light”, or “La luz difícil”) by Tomás González is certainly a better novel than what the Polish language version offers. It’s an intimate story of David, a very successful Colombian painter living in New York, whose adult son, disabled and suffering from excruciating pain after a car accident, decides to end his life. The novel covers the evening and night before the event and is interlaced with David’s monologue twenty years later.

There are no easy answers to the qu
Mary Lins
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: complete
Oh my. What a sweet, sad, joyful, beautifully written, story. “Difficult Light”, by Tomas González, a slim novel breathtakingly translated from the Spanish by Andrea Rosenberg, is study in contracts. Our first person narrator is David, a painter who, now in his 70s is slowly going blind. He won’t go totally blind however, he will be able to see light and shadows. And that’s why using painting terms such as chiaroscuro, and tenebrism, are so appropriate to describe this light/dark narrative. Davi ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2021-read
This is a beautiful book with so much life packed in within its slim pages. David is an ageing artist living alone in his native Colombia looking back on his life, notably on one specific day - the day he and his wife Sara await news their son (who has been living in constant pain in the aftermath of an accident) taking his own life though assisted suicide (no spoilers - all is revealed in the first page).

Since the birth of my first child, I have sworn against reading stories that focus on the
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David is a 78-year-old artist. Due to a rare form of macular degeneration, his vision has for the past couple years been too compromised to paint, and as he begins the story, he has traded his paint brush for a pen to record the story we read. His eyesight is so bad, however, that he must use a magnifying glass to read it.

His story is a summing up, of balancing joys against sorrows—the most significant being, not his loss of sight, but the loss of his wife two years before the story starts, and
thoughtful novel, beautiful at times, funny too, about pain and death and what it means to live a life. with people
Adrian Alvarez
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a kind of magic in González's prose, a latent mesmerism between the chapters. Using very gentle diction and unobtrusive style he conveys a mood and tone that waivers between sublime inspiration and frank beauty, and more than this, he is able to sustain it in a way that appears effortless. Difficult Light would be too painful a story if it weren't written with González's patience and acceptance of his characters. It is still painful to read but not unbearable, not despairing, and that i ...more
Carla (literary.infatuation)

Difficult light by Gonzalez did not work for me. I was expecting beautiful Gabo-like lyricism, words stepped in pain and longing. After all, it is the story of the last days of Jacobo, a man in his 20s who decided to travel to Portland from New York City to die. He suffered tremendous amount of pain since a traffic accident in his teens. The story is told by his dad, David, in his late 70s, looking back at those terrible days from retirement and years after losing his wife, Sara. But I got an in
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A meditation on and exploration of grief and loss, this is a short but powerful account of a father and painter trying to make sense of his pain through his art. Quiet, reflective and understated, I found it a moving and convincing insight into how a tragedy impacts a family.
Bob Lopez
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Garrett Zecker
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tomás González's Difficult Light is a heart-wrenching portrait of grief and the ripples that extend from tragic moments in a life as one looks back on their existence in their withering, slowly decaying old age. It tells the story of David, a successful painter whose macular degeneration is making it more and more difficult for him to see. As he becomes more and more internalized with how he experiences the world, he has no choice but to reflect on his marriage, the choices of his family, and th ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful novella, and make no mistake. Narrated by a Colombian artist, who tells us he's writing it out in large letters in hand-made ink, due to his failing eyesight, it covers his life with his wife and children, but concentrates on one turning point when the family were living in New York City. There, the household is full of people finding it unable to work, eat properly, converse, sleep – and that's because their disabled son is being driven out of state by one of his brothers, en ...more
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David, a former painter going blind in his old age, is writing down moments from the most difficult part of his life: when his disabled son chose assisted suicide rather than continuing in unendurable pain. This is (of course) a heavy topic, but the author deals with it with such grace, such openness, that it transcends its storyline and becomes about the bigger human story. For such a small book, and for being so seemingly small in scope as far as the plot goes, González does a remarkable job o ...more
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book reads like meditation on life, suffering, the light in paintings, and mortality. It's beautiful and lyrical. It's a short, square book of only 140 pages as the reader learns that David, a painter in his 70s, is losing his vision. No longer able to paint, he's writing his life while he still has some vision, remembering pivotal moments which are primarily his wife who passed before him and the death of his son by euthanasia because of the severe pain caused by a horrible car wreck. The ...more
Callista Goh
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Difficult Light, Gonzalez paints a dynamic picture of the complexities of life. He tells the tale of an artist's acceptance of the decline and eventual death of his son, and the death of his wife, oscillating between two different time periods and weaving the narratives flawlessly. I really enjoyed this novel, and its realistic portrayal of the difficulties associated with death - the memories and recollections of what a deceased individual would say in certain situations, alongside the emoti ...more
Joshua Bohnsack
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wrote a short review for this for The Bookstore at the End of the World’s forthcoming titles.

I keep thinking about this book. The story is simple. Tragic, but simple. An elderly painter thinks back to his paraplegic son’s euthanasia. The way González creates the worldview of a sight diminished artist is how he primes his own canvas, and the finished product is astounding. Some of the best writing I’ve ever read.
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the deeply moving story of a family torn to pieces by the decision of a disabled son to end his own life. The agonising topic is handled with immense sensitivity. Gonzalez is a courageous author with an extraordinary ability to face and express the most raw emotions. By presenting the greatest pain and grief a person can possibly feel, he provides comfort and understanding for all of us.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been around for over 10 years and has lots of reviews and high ratings, and I can see why. It's quite emotional at times, but includes some humor. It's relatively short and uses language well. Recommended.

Thanks very much for the review copy!!
Jennifer Delgadillo
This was a beautiful story about family and love, the creative spirit, and brimming beauty even within dimming life.
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rumination on a life lived with remembrances and recollections of the narrator, the artist David’s life. Small glimpses of beauty on each page. Beautifully written and translated.
Mar 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A poignant novella of love, loss, beauty, and art.
May 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s very difficult to think of a writer who writes so beautifully about difficult things as Tomás González.
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went in with zero knowledge on this one, aside from the strength of Archipelago Books. A fantastic, short novel about pain--both emotional and physical-- and assisted dying. I'm interested to read more of Gonzalez's work after this one. ...more
N Revathy
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Difficult light : Tomas Gonzalez...

David a painter starts losing his eye sight due macular degeneration... literally become blind not able to continue his passionate painting art..

The story is about mental trauma of a parent whose son is about to die at a fixed time
This is how first chapter ends with
"I slept almost four hours straight, dreamlessly, until I was awakened at seven by the knot of grief in my belly at the death of my son Jacobo, which we’d scheduled for seven that night, Portland
Mái Medina
Book # 78

My first but definitely not my last Tomás González book. Although I'm Colombian and I spent the first 26 years of my life living in this beautiful country, regrettably, the Colombian authors that I'm familiar with can be counted with my right hand. I had never heard of Tomás González before. I discovered his books less than a week ago when googling Best novels by Colombian authors. I'm glad I found him because this book has left me full of all sort of feelings.

La Luz Di
This book was wonderful. An old man remembers his life and family, in particular, events that affected his son, David, years earlier. At no time is the reader told what is to happen or what does happen. It is left to the reader to unfold this information bit by bit.

It is an intensely beautiful read. Beautifully written. But such pain and sadness. I cried.

Thank you to Edelweiss, the publisher and the author for sending me this ARC. These opinions are my own.
Apr 18, 2013 added it
great book and great topic
Alejandro Salgado B.
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, tough and poetic narrative.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lo que no tiene nombre
  • Cómo maté a mi padre
  • The Armies
  • Igifu
  • La perra
  • Río Muerto
  • The Sound of Things Falling
  • El olvido que seremos
  • Donde nadie me espere
  • Hoy es siempre todavía
  • Cartas a Antonia: Las conmovedoras reflexiones y enseñanzas de un abuelo a su nieta
  • Tríptico de la infamia
  • Las muertes chiquitas
  • The Book of Emma Reyes
  • Satanás
  • La oculta
  • Delirio
  • Primera persona
See similar books…
Tomás González nació en Medellín, en 1950, y comenzó a escribir a principios de la década de los setenta, poco después de empezar a estudiar filosofía en la Universidad Nacional de Colombia. A partir de entonces no ha parado de escribir, publicando sus libros en Colombia y México. Aparte de algunos poemas y cuentos que se sitúan en Nueva York, el resto de su obra se centra en Colombia. Ha publicad ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
21 likes · 3 comments
“Han pasado ya tantos años desde entonces que incluso la pena en mi corazón se ha ido secando, como la humedad en una fruta, y es poco frecuente que el recuerdo de lo ocurrido de repente me agite otra vez, como si hubiera sucedido ayer, y me haga tragar fuerte, para controlar cualquier sollozo. Pero aún ocurre, y la congoja amenaza entonces con doblarme. Pero también pasa que a veces pienso en mi hijo, y los sentimientos son tan cálidos que se me ocurre pensar que la vida es eterna, quieta y eterna, y el dolor, una ilusión.” 5 likes
“Y ahora que vuelvo a hacerlo después de tantos años me asombra otra vez lo dúctiles que son las palabras; lo mucho que expresan por sí solas, o casi por sí solas, expresan lo ambiguo, lo trasmutable, lo poco firme de las cosas.” 4 likes
More quotes…