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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  6,433 ratings  ·  582 reviews
Un hombre regresa a casa después de un corto viaje de negocios y encuentra que su esposa ha enloquecido completamente. No tiene idea de qué le pudo haber ocurrido durante los tres días de su ausencia, y con el fin de ayudarla a salir de la crisis empieza a investigar, sólo para descubrir lo poco que sabe sobre las profundas perturbaciones escondidas en el pasado de la muje ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Alfaguara (first published 2004)
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Kary It's very complicated even for a native speaker. The prose is a little convoluted, kinda similar to Saramago's books, and the author switches characte…moreIt's very complicated even for a native speaker. The prose is a little convoluted, kinda similar to Saramago's books, and the author switches characters and goes from third to first person almost at random. (less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  6,433 ratings  ·  582 reviews

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Woman Reading
4.5 ☆
... spinning head isn't the only thing that's discombobulated; above all, it's reality itself, with the ambiguous weight of its double load

Prepare to descend into a vortex of madness. Laura Restrepo's Delirium won the Premio Alfaguara, which is one of the most prestigious Spanish-language literary awards. Knowing that helped me sustain my reading efforts through the first third. Delirium required persistence from me because of its stream of consciousness style, its near absence of linear
Wow what a read!

This disturbing book begins with a husband's return home to find his wife Agustina, in a state of delirium. What caused it will be the tale that Laura Restrepo disturbingly tells. Often using first person vernacular, which I admit was a challenge at times to read, tells the uneasy story of Agustina's Colombian family.

Set during the 1980s, when the Medellin drug cartel was reaking havoc in the country, we are introduced to Midas McAlister, an ex-boyfriend of Agustina and a money
Jim Fonseca
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Delirium drops us into the high-end world of modern Bogota, Colombia. These particular folks are families who hang out in fitness centers and travel to the United States. One main character is an unemployed professor who has hooked up with the daughter of a prominent drug family. She is more than he can handle and even if she weren't crazy, he'd be out of his league. (I'm reminded of the modern Italian novel The Natural Disorder of Things: A Novel which has a similar set-up.)

One day she disappea
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
It’s a good book but it’s very unclear and difficult to understand because it’s written in this particular way: the author divided the story into little extracts, which at first don’t fit at all! But the more you read, the more you understand the plot. Maybe she did this in order to connect it with the title: “Delirium”. The main character descended from a family with mental disdorders. It describes her story and how her husband struggled to find a cure or at least an answer in a country occupie ...more
Nov 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translation, fiction
Relatively unknown throughout the English-speaking world, Colombian novelist Laura Restrepo has been widely acclaimed nearly everywhere else. Already the recipient of a number of international literary awards, Restrepo won the prestigious Alfaguara Prize in 2004 for Delirium. Praised by such luminaries as José Saramago, Gabriel García Márquez, and Harold Bloom, Delirium is an enthralling and inconceivably harrowing story, the likes of which bear no comparison to any novel in recent memory. Narr ...more
Victoria Kellaway
I am still unsure why I struggled so much with this book because so much about it seemed destined to make it perfect for me. I live in Bogotá, I identified with many of the observations about Colombian culture and knew many of the landmarks and areas of the city mentioned. I was also interested in the beginning, because this book's premise seemed so intriguing. My interest soon faltered though and I found there was little to draw me back to the novel. The only character who really interested me ...more
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: colombian
Written in the manner of (and in homage to) Saramago, this book takes 40 or so pages for one to get acclimated to the lack of quotation marks, the shifting of four narrative voices, and the changing tenses. Then, Delirium grips. Stay with it. It can be read on many levels: an allegory of Columbia (or choose your country); a mystery (of sorts); or an examination of the fracturing of the human mind. There are, after all, many things which make us mad. Highly recommended.
Anna Baillie-Karas
A tour de force, but starts slowly.

Aguilar tracks his wife Agustina’s descent into madness. We also hear from her former lover Midas the money launderer - a colourful character & in some ways the most honest; & her grandfather. Agustina is wildly unstable so it was hard to get a firm foothold in her sections. Her family is ‘old money’ but lie to each other for the sake of appearances.

Some wonderful, vivid, tragi-comic scenes. You get a real sense of (dysfunctional) home life and wider society
"Delirium" does something that I hate - it uses no direct speech at all and instead relies on incorporating spoken words into long sentences that twist and curl and drive you insane. Considering Agustina's madness however, this is a book where it works brilliantly. In fact, by the end of it, Agustina's supporting characters and the reader seem more disturbed than she is.

I have to say that I sometimes felt a bit removed from the characters and the story, and this might just be a cultural thing.
Never in my life has a book challenged my own sanity until I read this book.

First, it’s lack of quotation marks, direct narration and jumbled mix of past and present timelines started to make me feel a little... well.... delirious. I actually considered putting this on my DNF shelf, but then it occurred to me that this sort of madness might’ve been the author’s true intent for the reader; so I kept with it.

Once I got the hang of the writing style, I found myself intrigued with its delirious pl
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I read the book in French but happily understood most of the numerous "Colombianisms" due to a few months lived in Bogota a few years ago.

I must admit that twice before I had tried to read this book but would have never gone further than page 20 due to the lack of sense in the story,structure, punctuation and misunderstandings regarding who the narrator is and when. This time, with a long trip ahead of me I decided to give it another shot, quite stuck since I had no other book with me.

Again, I f
It took me a while to read this book because of the way it is written. It would switch from one narrator to another most times it wouldn’t come immediately, who was speaking. I am guessing this was to add to the idea of disorientation.
Agustina, a young woman from a well-off family in Colombia grew up in a household full of dysfunction. There were secrets that she and her younger brother Bichi had to resolve. Her father was incredibly abusive to the younger Carlos Vincente while the older brothe
Kobe Bryant
Just kind of annoying to follow
Eva Strange
I have no idea what the point of this book is supposed to be. Or what‘s the point in reading it.
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is intriguing but also disconcerting. Family secrets, gas lighting, mental illness passed down from generation to generation, Colombian drug dealers and more make for a crazy story.
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at:A Girl that Likes Books

Every story is like a big cake, everyone gives account of the piece he or she is eating and the only one that can account for the whole thing is the baker.

Why I read this book

My reading of Hispanic authors has gone down in the last years, let alone Colombian authors. Restrepo's book has been acclaimed with several prizes and my family liked it, so I decided to jump back on the horse with this one.

What the book is about

This book takes us through the loo
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Delirium" is a beautifully written love story set in Pablo Escobar's drug war-torn Colombia that attempts to solve the mystery of madness. Can it be done? What happened to Aguilar's beautiful wife Augustina during the window of only a few days when he went away on a business trip leaving a sane wife behind but returning only to find a woman who has lost her mind and is almost completely unrecognizable, a shell of her former self? This book presents a puzzle, raising questions about how one defi ...more
Delirium was one of the finalists in the Women's World Cup of Literature ( It examines the idea of insanity through three generations of a family in Bogota, Columbia - the grandfather from Germany who mistakes real people for people of whom he dreams, the aunt and mother who deal with their father's oddities while loving the same cruel man, and the daughter/niece who goes mad because of her family's secrecy and lies. Laura Restrepo weaves together differ ...more
Dragana J.
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latino-love, dark
Delirium is a story about Aguilar, a man who returns from a weekend away to find his wife (Agustina) in the throes of a severe nervous breakdown. She is unable to communicate with her husband, and so Aguilar, with the help of Agustina's Aunt Sofi, putting the pieces together of his wife's life, in order to determine the causes of her madness. Restrepo's book is divided into short chapters that alternate between these various threads, including the stories of her overbearing father, her effeminat ...more
Jennifer Pletcher
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fictional story of 4 people - Agustina, a woman who has sunk into madness; her husband Aguilar who tries his best to care for her; Midas - a drug traffiker who used to be Agustina's lover; Nicolas - Agustina's grandfather. The author blends their stories together to weave a picture of how Agustina decends into madness.

This was a pretty good book. You have to really pay attention because there are a lot of run on sentences (style) and back and forth between the characters and no chap
The book really throws you into the story with no exposition; four voices revolve in sections and not until a good deal into the book do you figure out who they are and how they are related to each other. It didn't deter me, though I can see how it might for others. It calls for active reading, and I always enjoy that. There's also a lot of commentary through these characters on Colombia and its tumultuous's definitely a bit hard to try to explain the novel, but I liked it because i ...more
ხუან როჯასი
It was one of the most beautiful and challenging experience of my life. You see, I am not a very good reader, so this book was not easy for me (the way it is written is a bit confusing because is like assembling a puzzle, and some of the parts need to be infered along the way). However, the book shows a passionate romance with little pinches of colombian history (and even sociological views from the author which are priceless) and how lies and appereances can play a huge role within our lifes, d ...more
Moira McPartlin
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, ebook, translation
Fabulous. The structure of this novel is different from anything I've read before. It switches narrator, timeline and sometimes shifts point of view within a single paragraph. The story is a mystery. Why did Aguilar's wife, Agustina, end up crazy in a hotel room while he was visiting his son's? What happened in those four days she was alone? The story is teased out through a variety of narratives; Aguilar's search, the musings of a Colombian underworld boss, Agustina's German grandfather's story ...more
Written in small bits with four different focuses - Augustina as a child living with a dominating father, her husband Aguilar who is trying to figure out why Augustina has gone mad, a former lover Midas of Augustina who tries to protect Augustina at the same time avoiding the wrath of Pablo Escobar and her grandfather at the time her mother was a child.
There were connections through all the stories, with fear, mental illness, homophobia and breakdowns.
A challenging and confronting story.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tremendously dense book and hard to get into, but incredibly rewarding once you do. Four narrative voices weaving stories of madness, sex, violence and crime in one family in a sometimes dreamlike, stream of consciousness fashion. Like nothing else I've read recently, compelling and repelling in equal measure. ...more
Uzma Aslam Khan
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the only book I've read about love and mental illness that captures the voices and the chaos convincingly, without glorifying the characters or their pain. Yet it is beautiful, even rhapsodic.
Alvaro Cobian
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Started almost by accident, this book caught my attention from the first pages. Excellently written, the book describes the characters with accurate detail, showing the hints of different layers of the Colombian society, which can be somehow identified in any society.
Paul Taylor
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An engaging study of love, insanity, deception, temptation, violence and class consciousness set in late 20th century Columbia when Pablo Escobar was omnipotent.
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-the-world
2.5 stars

This was my read the world selection for Colombia.

Aguilar returns home after being out of town for four days to find that his wife Agustina is not there and there is a message on his answering machine asking him to pick her up from a hotel. On going to pick her up, Aguilar finds that his wife has had a mental breakdown.

As Aguilar tries to find out the events that led to Agustina being in the hotel and what led her to insanity, he uncovers a family history of mental illness, told from t
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Read Women: #WiT: Delirium by Laura Restrepo 17 45 Dec 31, 2020 01:54PM  
Colectivo Raíces ...: Glosario del libro Delirio, de Laura Restrepo 5 4 Dec 26, 2020 04:12AM  

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Laura Restrepo is a Colombian writer. Her first fiction novel, Isle of Passion, is based on historical facts from Clipperton Island.

She is an award winning author. In 1997, she won the "Premio Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz" prize at the Guadalajara Book Fair for her novel The Angel of Galilea. In 2002 she won the "Premio Arzobispo San Clemente" Award for her novel Leopard in the Sun. In 2004 she won t

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