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


3.70  ·  Rating details ·  2,375 ratings  ·  347 reviews
From the brilliant mind of the author of The Sound of Things Falling, a powerful novel about a legendary political cartoonist.

Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country's most influential political cartoonist, the consciousness of a nation. A man capable of repealing laws, overturning judges' decisions, destroying politicians' careers with his art. His weapons
Hardcover, 193 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Riverhead Books (first published April 2013)
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 Reputations, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Motazz Soliman
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,375 ratings  ·  347 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Reputations
Amalia Gkavea
“The memory has a marvellous capacity to remember the forgotten, its existence and its stalking, and thus allow us to stay alert when we don’t want to forget and forget when we choose to.”

Javier Mallarino is a political cartoonist, revered and respected by the public of Colombia, and feared by the ones who bow down to corruption. His influence is immense, his art is a weapon against all that is rotten. Now, the time has come to be honoured as he deserves. But all is not well. One of his daug
Glenn Russell

"Great caricaturists don't expect applause from anyone, and that's not what they draw for: they draw to annoy, to embarrass, to be insulted." So declares Mallarino upon receiving the highest tribute for his forty years as Colombia's foremost political cartoonist - his self-portrait on the country's newest postage stamp.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez places Javier Mallarino front and center in his short novel, Reputations.

But just because the author is from Colombia, please don't think Gabriel García Már
Diane S ☔
Jun 15, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 Mollarino is a political cartoonist, in Bogotá, a man who after many, many years is going to be recognized and lauded at a public dinner. At the event, a young woman his daughter Beatrice's age, claiming to be a reporter asks him for an interview. The next day at his home he discovers not only is she not a reporter but she wants his help remembering an event that happened at his house when she was seven.

It is easy to be seduced by Vasquez and his wonderful prose and I loved his insights on m
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Caricatures might exaggerate reality but they can’t invent it. They can distort, but they never lie.”

So says Javier Mallinaro, the protagonist of Reputations, and one of the most influential and legendary political cartoonists in Colombia. A caricature from him can define someone for life and make and break a reputation. He fancies himself a humanist, a satirical illustrator, a “driller downer” of complicated personalities and a revealer of the true core of what lies beneath.

But at the heart of
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: colombian
A celebrated Columbian political cartoonist is sitting on a bench getting his shoes shined when he thinks he sees another long-dead political cartoonist. The image turns out to be symbolic rather than a plot piece but it nevertheless gave me a deja vu-ey feel, as if I'd read that trope before. Haven't been able to put my finger on it, so this will annoy me.

Anyhow, this was a one-day read, and enjoyable enough. The plot is minimalist, mostly the caricaturist's retrospection of the time he ruined
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rebecca by: Nancy Oakes
This razor-sharp novella about a Bogotá political cartoonist who faces up to a professional decision he made more than 20 years ago would be perfect for readers of Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes. It also reminded me of The Plimsoll Line by Juan Gracia Armendáriz. As you’d expect from the title, it’s all about how reputations can be formed and destroyed in a trice. I liked the metaphor of the political caricature being a stinger dipped in honey. A big thank you to Nancy for passing this book on ...more
Jude Watson
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't realize this books was going to largely be a man's reflections on a woman's sexual assault, because that is not revealed in the book's description. Would not have read it if so. Beautifully written, some great thought on art and satire's effect on society, but I just don't need to give space in my brain to a man's defensive reflections on a young girl's assault in his house. ...more
This book grabbed me from the first pages with the shoeshine man. Then again, Vásquez is a great writer, and why wouldn't he. I was a little miffed that it was such a short book but Julian Barnes Levels put out his last book (Levels of Life) in the novela manner and that was an amazing read.

The subject matter, a famous caricaturist who weilds so much power that everyone yields to him, gets Columbia's highest award after 40 years, makes him even more invincible. Then enters Samanta Leal, a childh
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, translated
A quiet, reflective novel concerning the power and vulnerability of reputations. This slim work may have a minimalist storyline, but it carries strong perceptions. This likely explains the mixed reviews; the plot might be a little too slow for some, but others probably came away impressed with it's implications. I fall somewhere in between. It is certainly good, however. ...more
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, translation
the fifth and latest book to be translated into english from the alfaguara-winning colombian author of the sound of things falling, juan gabriel vásquez's reputations (las reputaciones) is the story of javier mallarino, a late-career political cartoonist — one with the power to make or break elected officials and shape the course of national public opinion. mallarino has enjoyed the benefits and accolades of a successful career, despite a failed marriage and self-enforced mountaintop isolation ( ...more
Vásquez writes beautifully and this novel examines the moral quandaries of a well-established and influential political cartoonist. He has the power to make or break others, solely through pen and paper. He has used and enjoyed his power, but after decades in the business, an old incident comes to the forefront of the story, making him question his power, his assumptions, and the ultimate ramifications of his art. Slightly melancholic and meditative examination of media, manipulation, memory, an ...more
Oct 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I found this book quite engrossing, but realize with the passage of time that the disappointing ending sabotages a lot of what Vásquez has achieved here. At first blush, it looks like the subject of the book, in keeping with its title, is the effect of fame on a man, and the many ironies implicit in a celebrity culture, for instance the almost inevitable canonization of authors whom most members of the establishment have reasons to hate. Yet it turns out that equally important is another sensiti ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
In this short novel Juan Gabriel Vásquez and translator Anne McLean dig into issues of personal integrity, divorce, memory and how news coverage informs and crystallizes public reputations.
The main character, Javier Mallarino is the leading political cartoonist of Colombia. This important and fun tradition is explored and cited, names were introduced that had me looking up and appreciating work from Daumier to Oliphant. They have power.
"What was the mysterious mechanism that turned a journali
Book Riot Community
A revered political cartoonist whose illustrations wield power and influence over his country must take a hard look at his life after an unexpected visit from a young woman has him reevaluating everything he has done and how he remembers the past. A masterful, thought-provoking novel about secrets, celebrity, and escaping the past from one of the most talented writers working today.

Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books:
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great first read of 2017 about a political cartoonist in Colombia. This is a beautiful translation with the atmosphere and weighted artistry of a darker Almodóvar film. Meditative and thought-provoking.
Really enjoyed this! This book made me want to stand under the grey skies of Bogota and stare pensively in the rain...

I was surprised to see this was first published in 2006?! This book really foreshadowed our current moment in which public "shaming" has become such a visible part of Internet culture! There is lots to discuss in terms of the book's treatment of this theme.

The book is a bit male gaze-y in that the main narrator is always, ALWAYS remarking on women's looks (or how he wants to sle
Conor Ahern
This focused story of a Colombian political cartoonist provided outsized fodder for last night's book club. Between the ambiguous turns of plot and the ambiguity behind the narrator's motivations, Vasquez raises many questions about the responsibility of heirloom critics and shapers of public opinion.

My first of this author's, but we all agreed it was beautifully translated into English. I'm sure I'll be reading him again!
Linda Abhors the New GR Design
I liked it at the beginning, more dense and introspective than I had expected. Not sure that I liked the end result. But not sorry that I've read it--it's so short! ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book probably deserves three stars, but I’m giving it four for nostalgia’s sake.

What I liked:
•I’d never read a book featuring a caricaturist; I found it an interesting choice for an author to write about a political cartoonist instead of a novelist or other kind of writer. I was fascinated. I’m thinking about – and looking at – political cartoons more now, and I want to learn more about Ricardo Rendon, the fabled, long-dead cartoonist that features prominently in this novel.

•I experience
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So certainties acquired at some moment in the past could, in time, stop being certainties: something could happen, a fortuitous or deliberate event, and suddenly all evidence is invalidated, the truth ceases to be true, the seen ceases to have been seen, and the occurrence to have occurred; all lose their place in time and space, are devoured and passed on to another world, or to another dimension of our world, a dimension we don't know. But where is it? Where does the past go when it changes
Hákon Gunnarsson
Well made newpaper cartoon can sometimes put the news into perspective, quicker, and more directly then some newspaper articles. This book tells the story of a well known Columbian newspaper cartoonist, that has been respected, and controversial, depending on who would be asked, throughout his 40 years career. He has come to the point where he is being awarded for his life’s work, and at that point a 28 year old incident comes to haunt him.

I really liked the beginning of this novel, but then it
Anna Baillie-Karas
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. An intriguing story of a successful political cartoonist who questions his place in society & the value of his work (like in At Dusk by Hwang Sok-Yong). I love the strength of Vazquéz’s writing, & the characters come to life: Magdalena’s beguiling voice; his boss’s bumptious formality. The narrator himself is ambivalent, sometimes unlikeable, but he felt real - with the tendencies and foibles of an artist (a memory for faces, daily routines, a need to be looked after and s ...more
J. Ewbank
Jun 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
This book by Vasquez is not an easy book to read. There is a lot of description in the book and one really has to think when you are going through this book. It does exactly what the description of the book says. A person lives their lives and gains a certain reputation, in this case an outstanding reputation. Then, something happens and all of that person's life is called into question and because this is true, that persons reputation as well. This book is well written and is a thinking persons ...more
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful translation, I wanted to read certain passages over and over. The ending frustrated me at first, but after thinking about Mallarino and who he is as a character (and narrator), the ending makes perfect sense.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Several of these passages were really lovely. Some of this was really great writing. I've wanted to read some Vasquez for a while and I found this scrolling through my kindle. I'm glad I finally did something I've vaguely thought about for a while!

That said, I really didn't take to this book that well -- like I said, some of the writing is lovely. I feel like it's a very rich setting. This isn't very long, but it is a good set up and it feels almost luxurious. There's a depth to the writing and
The latest novel from author Juan Gabriel Vasquez, the main character is a political cartoonist for a Colombian newspaper and he is receiving an award for his work, the first section is about his history in getting involved and record in political cartooning, the second and third sections are the run from what happened at the award ceremony.

Vasquez does go in to some very descriptive language, reminding me of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch though for Vasquez, this might have been to get it to a bi
Moushine Zahr
This is the first novel I've read from Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vaquez. The novel is short, concise and easy to read. The story evolves around the leading character, Javier, a political stayric cartoonist, who after receiving a lifetime achievement award, an old event comes back to haunt him and makes him think himself over.

The characters are well developed. The story is simple: about one leading character, one victim of the cartoonist, and one incident which happened a long time ago. The
Bonnie Brody
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
After reading 'The Sound of Things Falling' by Vasquez, I eagerly looked forward to reading his new book, 'Reputations'. Though short, it is provocative, and at its heart lies a morality tale, an investigation into the heart of one man's ethics and reflection on the distinction between right and wrong.

Javier Mallarino is a famous political caricaturist for one of the largest papers in Bogota, Colombia. His work is well-known and takes on a life of its own. Once his caricatures, mean-spirited or
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
ISBN - 9781524723484 1 3 Sep 16, 2017 10:55AM  
Reputations 1 5 Jul 15, 2016 09:46PM  
Reputations 1 4 Jul 15, 2016 09:46PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Los abismos
  • La habitación oscura
  • La rompiente
  • El padre de Blancanieves
  • Mejor la ausencia
  • La perra
  • Dulce Compañía
  • Arsene Lupin. Caballero y Ladrón
  • Lo demás es silencio: La vida y la obra de Eduardo Torres
  • Cowboy Graves: Three Novellas
  • Águas Passadas
  • By Night in Chile
  • The Gloaming
  • A Luminous Republic
  • Final del juego
  • News of a Kidnapping
  • The Third Reich
  • At Night All Blood is Black
See similar books…
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.


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...
2 likes · 0 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Lo importante en nuestra sociedad no es lo que pasa, sino quién cuenta lo que pasa.” 4 likes
“«Cuarenta años», dijo, inclinando el cuerpo hacia el micrófono que lo miraba como el ojo de una mosca. «Cuarenta años y más de diez mil caricaturas. Y déjenme que les confiese una cosa: todavía no entiendo nada. O quizás es que las cosas no han cambiado tanto. En estos cuarenta años, se me ocurre ahora, hay por lo menos dos cosas que no han cambiado: primero, lo que nos preocupa; segundo, lo que nos hace reír. Eso sigue igual, sigue igual que hace cuarenta años, y mucho me temo que seguirá igual dentro de cuarenta años más. Las buenas caricaturas tienen una relación especial con el tiempo, con nuestro tiempo. Las buenas caricaturas buscan y encuentran la constante de una persona: aquello que nunca cambia, aquello que permanece y nos permite reconocer a quien no hemos visto en mil años. Aunque pasaran mil años, Tony Blair seguiría teniendo orejas grandes y Turbay un corbatín. Son rasgos que uno agradece. Cuando un político nuevo tiene uno de esos rasgos, uno inmediatamente piensa: que haga algo, por favor, que haga algo para que pueda usarlo, que no se pierda ese rasgo en la memoria del mundo. Uno piensa: por favor, que no sea honesto, que no sea prudente, que no sea buen político, porque entonces no lo podría utilizar con tanta frecuencia.» Se oyó un susurro de risas, delgado como el rumor previo al escándalo. «Claro, hay políticos que no tienen rasgos: son caras ausentes. Ellos son los más difíciles, porque hay que inventarlos, y entonces uno les hace un favor: no tienen personalidad, y yo les doy una. Deberían estarme agradecidos. No sé por qué, pero casi nunca lo están.» Una brusca carcajada burbujeó en el teatro.” 1 likes
More quotes…