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The Sound of Things Falling

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  10,993 ratings  ·  1,185 reviews
Juan Gabriel Vásquez has been hailed not only as one of South America’s greatest literary stars, but also as one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. In this gorgeously wrought, award-winning novel, Vásquez confronts the history of his home country, Colombia.

In the city of Bogotá, Antonio Yammara reads an article about a hippo that had escaped from a derelict z
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Riverhead Books (first published May 2011)
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Caroline Love I don't think the book implies the Peace corps helped, rather that individuals who had been Peace Corps volunteers were involved, and this would be…moreI don't think the book implies the Peace corps helped, rather that individuals who had been Peace Corps volunteers were involved, and this would be very difficult to disprove. One has to remember that mainly rubbish criminals get caught and there are a lot of highly skilled criminals that never get a criminal record. I'm sure the great majority of Peace Corps volunteers did good things, but there are always some who go into 'good' roles for bad reasons (for example paedophiles who volunteer to work with kids) or get lured into bad behaviour because of the temptations they are faced with.(less)
Kevin It's not explicitly explained why he was killed, I'd think the reason why is pretty much open to the readers interpretation.

I came to the conclusion…more
It's not explicitly explained why he was killed, I'd think the reason why is pretty much open to the readers interpretation.

I came to the conclusion that the assasination of Laverde show's the drug barons mercinessless and power that remains even after the height of drug-trafficking during the the times of Pablo Escobar. As written in the book, Ricardo Laverde had a notable faculty when it came to memorising things such as maps. Maybe he knew things that could've gotten the wrong people into trouble, even though a long time had passed.

It also reinforces the drama of the novel. Laverde got out of prison, willing to make up for the mistakes of his past by contributing to society, trying to be there for his family etc. but "fate" get's in the way.

Really just my short interpretation without thinking about it too much. There surely are different and more elaborate interpretations for this out there, the important thing though is that you haven't missed anything, you might just have to come up with a reason for youself. As it say's in the book: 'algo habrá hecho'.(less)

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Richard Derus
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: In the city of Bogotá, Antonio Yammara reads an article about a hippo that had escaped from a derelict zoo once owned by legendary Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The article transports Antonio back to when the war between Escobar’s Medellín cartel and government forces played out violently in Colombia’s streets and in the skies above.

Back then, Antonio witnessed a friend’s murder, an e
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: colombia
Le cose che cadono introdotte dal titolo sono un aereo passeggeri, uno di quelli grossi e affollati, che prima dell’atterraggio a Calì (Colombia) esplode perché Pablo Escobar vuole eliminare un avversario (uno dei pochi politici che non era riuscito a comprare).
Si può immaginare il rumore che fece cadendo.


Ma dal cielo, quello dell’innocenza, cade anche Ricardo Laverde, pilota di aerei che voleva compiere imprese eroiche come il nonno militare, e finisce invece per vent’
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

4.5 stars. Ha, damn. Who knew it'd take such a quiet and introspective novel to break my heart.

I'm sorry because my fangirling probably won't help, but I found Juan Gabriel Vásquez's storytelling just wonderful. As often when I fall in love with a book - especially when none of my friends have read it, I've been feeling a little self-conscious and read a few reviews with low ratings. I... don't advise doing that, lol. In the end, I'm not able to acknowledge the flaws pointed there - too much te
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such profoundly sad book. A life stymied and stunted during the height of the drug wars in Bogotá. I will think about it for a long time to come.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brace2018
B.R.A.CE. 2018 Ένα βιβλίο με έναν τίτλο με πάνω από 5 λέξεις


Ο Αντόνιο, ένας νεαρός καθηγητής της νομικής στην Μπογκοτά, γίνεται μάρτυρας της δολοφονίας ενός πιλότου που ανακατεύτηκε με τα καρτέλ των ναρκωτικών την εποχή της παντοδυναμίας του Πάμπλο Εσκομπάρ. Τραυματίζεται και ο ίδιος και, μη γνωρίζοντας την αιτία για την οποία έχει γίνει το θύμα μιας ιστορίας που δεν τον αφορά, βυθίζεται σε μια απόγνωση από την οποία δεν μπορεί να γλιτώσει παρά μόνο όταν ένα τυχαίο γεγονός τον αναγκάζει να
Maria Thomarey
2,5. Επιτέλους . Το τελείωσα . Και δεν ξετρελαθηκα. Είχα διαβασει τόσα πολλα γι'αυτο και είχα τόσες πολλες προσδοκίες , καμια ομως δεν πραγματοποιήθηκε . Ωραίο βιβλιο . Αλλα μέχρι εκει . Με ενόχλησαν που οι επαναλήψεις . Και η αλήθεια ,καπου κουράστηκα . Γι'αυτο εκανα τοσο καιρο να το τελειώσω . Βαρέθηκα . Μου τελειωσε ο έρωτας . Γιατι τα βιβλία τα ερωτευόμαστε . Αυτο λοιπον μου πήρε τα μυαλά στην αρχη και μετα παπαλα .ενδεχομενος να μην βοήθησε και η μετάφραση
Readathon2017: 4/26ενα βιβλιο συγγ
Aug 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm pretty sure the title of this novel "The Sound of Things Falling," refers to the sound of the book falling on the floor every time you doze off while reading it. The protagonist, Antonio, was neither likable, nor lovable, nor interesting in any way, and the same goes for Maya Fritts and her parents Elena and Laverde who were all flat characters. I looked forward to reading this book after putting my name on a long waiting list at the public library for it, as I love several Latin American au ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ambience of this melancholy novel often appeared in my dreams at night while I was reading this book. I am not sure how long-lasting the effect will be, but it has put me into a funk. This is a quiet novel depicting the solitary interior life of a ruined generation. There are frequent pleasures; I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Laverde family, urban life up in the mountains in Bogotá contrasted with the rural tropical areas, the beautiful geography of Colombia and inferring some of t ...more
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: around-the-world
Ένα βιβλίο που σε ταξιδεύει στην Κολομβία των 60-70s και 90s. Με τόσο ζωντανές εικόνες που νομίζεις ότι έζησες κι εσύ τότε. Ένα βιβλίο που σου δείχνει το αποτύπωμα του πολέμου που είχε ξεσπάσει τα χρόνια της κυριαρχίας του Πάμπλο Εσκομπάρ και των ναρκωτικών.
Όμως, είναι και ένα βιβλίο για τα όνειρα των νέων που κόβονται απότομα. Για αυτούς που κάποτε είχαν όνειρα, αλλά (συνειδητά ή όχι) τα "άφησαν" στην πορεία. Για αυτούς που το παρελθόν το κρατάνε ζωντανό σαν να είναι το παρόν και ζουν μέσα από
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Είχα καιρό να παρασυρθώ τόσο όμορφα, σχεδόν νοσταλγικά από μία αφήγηση...η ανάγνωση κυλάει εύκολα, ομαλά και ευχάριστα. Η γραφή του Vasquez σε μεταφέρει από τις πρώτες σελίδες στο κλίμα της Κολομβίας, στο μεγάλο υψόμετρο με την έλλειψη οξυγόνου και την αποπνικτική ατμόσφαιρα, ενώ η ιστορία εκτυλίσσεται με φόντο τον μόνιμα μουντό και γκρίζο ουρανό της Μπογκοτά. Μέσα από την αφήγηση της ζωής του πρωταγωνιστή φανερώνονται στον αναγνώστη σημαντικές στιγμές της κολομβιανής ιστορίας και παράλληλα μετα ...more
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Εντάξει! Πολύ χαίρομαι που δεν το παράτησα το βιβλίο! Ενώ με κούρασε πολύ στην αρχή, στην πορεία συνήθισα τον τρόπο γραφής και απογειώθηκα για ένα ταξιδάκι μέχρι την Κολομβία. Βιβλίο γεμάτο εικόνες καθημερινότητας στη μακρινή χώρα που συνδιάζονται και με καταστάσεις και γεγονότα των πρωταγωνιστών. Να που μερικές φορές ο ψυχαναγκασμός που με διακρίνει να μην αντέχω να αφήσω βιβλίο ατελείωτο, μου βγήκε σε καλό!
switterbug (Betsey)
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"There is a sound that I cannot or have never been able to identify: a sound that's not human or is more than human, the sound of lives being extinguished...the sound of things falling from on high...that is forever suspended in my memory, hanging in it like a towel on a hook."

In 1995, when Bogotonian Antonio Yammara was 26 and a few years out of law school, he met two significant people who would transform him, and in some ways, one would destroy him. A few years later, he met someone else that
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My, oh my – what an incredible novel. This is the kind of novel that made me brush everything aside and read voraciously, devouring every single word and dreading arriving at the end. Yes, it’s that good!

Set in Bogota, Colombia, our narrator, Antonio, becomes twinned to an enigmatic and shadowy ex-pilot named Ricardo Laverde, whom he meets in a Bogota billiard hall. Ricardo has been imprisoned for many years for unknown reasons. (The refrain is: “He must have done something.”) Antonio is with Ri
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Against the backdrop of an explosive and defining period in history -- Pablo Escobar and the powerful Columbian drug cartels, the declaration of the War on Drugs, the growing cocaine epidemic following the Viet Nam war -- Vasquez has set an amazing story that is immediately gripping. With only his words, Vasquez is a sculptor, a painter, a master story teller; talking to our senses, filling our heads with journals and scrapbooks, maps taped to newspaper articles, the recollections of smugglers f ...more
Interesting and engaging. Here the theme is the violence and fear that permeated all Colombian life in the 80s and 90s when the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar held sway. Who wasn't affected? How did this play out in the lives of Colombians, children and adults?

Fear. This is a book about fear. It is about secrets. What is it like to discover your father is not who you thought he was? It is about how all families were caught up in the violence of those times. Arguments between husband and wife
Trigger warnings: Drive-by shootings, drug trafficking, death of a parent, plane crash, animal cruelty.

I picked this one up at work while stocktaking and was like "Uh, based on the blurb, this does not sound like something a high school library should have??" Colour me surprised to find that it's on the year 12 literature syllabus. It's not one that we teach, but we have a copy nonetheless.

So I read it. And I pretty much loved it. And I'm not entirely sure I can explain why. The writing is bea
Diane S ☔
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
There was just something about this book that was stylistically perfect. One of the most well constructed books I have ever read. The title is also perfect because things in this novel fall, airplanes fall, drug empires fall, an old zoo and estate that once belonged to Escobar falls into disrepair, a country falls victim to drugs and terror and lastly bodies that are shot fall soundlessly.

The prose is smooth, the setting and the realism that was Bogata in the 1970's. The history of a country de
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Annalisa by: Lucy
If this book were written by anyone but a Colombian, I would have begrudged the overused association of Colombia and drug trafficking, but because it was written by someone who lived there through those unstable years, he gets it right. It's not about the drug lords or the money or the corruption. It's about the people stuck in the middle, the vast majority of people who don't have anything to do with the war on drugs but find themselves as its unexpected consequence.

I can't say how well Vasque
Viv JM
I'm not sure I've ever read a thriller as poignant and melancholy as this. I thought it was beautifully written/translated and found it very moving. It wasn't a conventionally fast-paced page turner of a thriller but still pulled the reader in. The portrayal of a country and a city haunted by its past will stay with me, I think. Highly recommended, and I will definitely be seeking out more work by this author.
Λίγο νουάρ, λίγο ιστορικό, λίγο ρομαντικό, λίγο Γιαμάρα, λίγο Αλλιέντε, λίγο μου άρεσε και λίγο ξενέρωσα.. από τα μισά του βιβλίου και μετά περίμενα την μεγάλη αποκάλυψη που θα με καθήλωνε για το υπόλοιπο μυθιστόρημα και δεν ερχόταν. Και τελικώς τελείωσε με ένα μεγάλο "καιιι..;"

Ο ήχος των πραγμάτων όταν πέφτουν, του Juan Gabriel Vásquez είναι ένα καλογραμμένο μυθιστόρημα για τον φόβο για το μέλλον μας, για την ίδια τη ζωή. Κυκλοφόρησε από τις εκδόσεις Ίκαρος και προκάλεσε έντονο ενδιαφέρον μεταξύ των αναγνωστών και των κριτικών.

Θυμόμαστε πως στην πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα συνέντευξη που μας είχε παραχωρήσει η Ντορίνα Παπαλιού, μας είχε επισημάνει πόσο το είχε ξεχωρίσει, μαζί και με το επόμενο μυθιστόρημα του συγγραφέα Οι πληροφοριοδότες
Jason Coleman
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
The early chapters include a rather chilling drive-by, the discovery of a black-box recording at a dead man's apartment, and the fate of a drug dealer's escaped pet hippo, and all of this is decent enough. Second half of the book includes a flashback of an airshow crash that strikes me as gratuitous semi-magic realism, and is followed by a piecing-together of the past by the main character and a mystery-man's beekeeper daughter, and is extremely weak. It reminded me, god help me, of the kids in ...more
Geoffrey Fox
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
El gran mérito de esta novela es que hace palpable el permanente miedo que produce la narcoviolencia, en este caso en Colombia, y como trastorna las vidas de tanta gente normal que no quiere y no ha escogido la violencia. También pretende mostrar lo absurdo y contraproducente que ha sido "la guerra contra las drogas" empujada y financiada por los EE.UU., y cuyos resultados han sido la violencia desenfrenada, la corrupción sin límites, y la destrucción de intentos de desarrollar el país y sus rec ...more
Λίνα Θωμάρεη
4,5 Κολομβιανά αστεράκια

Ήταν ένα νοσταλγικό ταξίδι....
Μας μιλάει για το πως είναι να ζεις σε μία χώρα που τα ναρκωτικά και η διαφθορά έχουν το πάνω χέρι.... Πως είναι να ζει κάποιος στην Μπογκοτά του 20, του 60 και του 90. Πως είναι η ζωή των νέων εκείνης της εποχής.
Πως είναι η ζωή της Κολομβίας εκείνη την εποχή.
Μας μιλάει για έναν νέο με όνειρα που ξαφνικά κόβονται στην μέση.
Μας μιλάει για έναν αλλοτινό νέο με όνειρα που τώρα πια είναι σκονισμένα και μας μιλάει για μια γυναίκα, μόνη πλέων να αν
Bionic Jean
Jul 12, 2014 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bionic Jean by: Karen Purcell
The Sound of Things Falling is the third novel by Juan Gabriel Vásquez. Mario Vargas Llosa has called the author, "one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature." Vásquez's work is a reaction to magical realism, in particular that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He says,

"I want to forget this absurd rhetoric of Latin America as a magical or marvellous continent. In my novel there is a disproportionate reality, but that which is disproportionate in it is the violence and cruelty of
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it
The Sound of Things Falling has a little bit of everything. A little modern history here, a little romance there etc, without getting too deep into anything. A good story well told but I couldn't help feeling there was something missing, a fact underlined by the size of the book. Such subjects need space to grow and mature and with roughly 300 pages, it's understood that the author didn't mean for it to become a legend, but a decent novel that's light and easy to read without being cheap. Despit ...more
Γιώργος Καμπουρίδης
Η ενηλικίωση φέρνει μαζί της την καταστροφική ψευδαίσθηση του αυτοελέγχου, ίσως δε να εξαρτάται κι απ' αυτήν. Εννοώ την αυταπάτη ότι εξουσιάζουμε τη ζωή μας, που μας επιτρέπει να νιώθουμε ενήλικες, καθότι συναρτάμε την ωριμότητα με την αυτονομία, το κυρίαρχο δικαίωμα να καθορίζουμε τι θα συμβεί μετά. Η απομάγευση έρχεται αργά ή γρήγορα, αλλά πάντα έρχεται, δεν είναι ασυνεπής στο ραντεβού, ποτέ δεν ήταν.
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
This is a horrendously overrated book. The narrator is extremely unlikable and uninteresting. The author unsuccessfully tried to cram three narratives into one. This resulted in the story being all over the place and having pacing issues. It isn't even well written: Vasquez needs to learn that good authors should show and not tell. This novel involved large amounts of blunt "telling." Good writing isn't even being sacrificed for deep content; there isn't much depth behind what Vasquez is trying ...more
Μαρία Γεωργιάδου
Από την αρχή ως το τέλος του βιβλίου προσπαθούσα να καταλάβω γιατί έχει γίνει τόσος ντόρος. Ναι μεν διαβάζεται πολύ ευχάριστα αλλά, κατά την άποψή μου, του λείπει αυτό το "κάτι" που κάνει ένα βιβλίο να ξεπεράσει το μέσο όρο. Επιπλέον, το τέλος μου φάνηκε κάπως βεβιασμένο. Παρ' όλα αυτά, εξαιρετικό εξώφυλλο και γενικότερα πολύ προσεγμένη έκδοση.
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Estudió Derecho en su ciudad natal, en la Universidad del Rosario, y después de graduarse, partió a Francia, donde se instaló en París (1996-99). Allí, en La Sorbona se doctoró en Literatura Latinoamericana. Luego se mudó a un pequeño pueblo de la región de Ardenas, en Bélgica. Después de un año de vivir allí, Vásquez se instaló en Barcelona. Actualmente vive cerca a su ciudad natal en Colombia.

“Adulthood brings with it the pernicious illusion of control, and perhaps even depends on it. I mean that mirage of dominion over our own life that allows us to feel like adults, for we associate maturity with autonomy, the sovereign right to determine what is going to happen to us next. Disillusion comes sooner or later, but it always comes, it doesn’t miss an appointment, it never has.” 46 likes
“There is no more disastrous mania, no more dangerous whim, than the speculation over roads not taken.” 41 likes
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