Liveforever by Andrés Caicedo

andres caicedo liveforever

Liveforever by  Andrés Caicedo

Columbian fiction

Orginal title – ¡Que viva la música!

Translator – Frank Wynne

Source – Review copy

“Caicedo is the missing link of the lost boom. He is the first enemy of Macondo. I do not know if he committed suicide or maybe was killed by García Márquez and the dominant culture of those times. He was less the rocker that the Colombians want and more an intellectual. a super genius tormented nerd. He had imbalances, anguish of living. He was not comfortable with the life. He had problems to stay on his foot. And he had to write in order to survive. He killed himself because he saw too much.”

Albeto Fuguet the acclaimed Chilean writer on his early death .

Now as any one who has been following the books read section of this blog will know I read this a few months ago ,but at time I was reading it was when Richard and I started discussing Spanish Lit month again .I want this to be the first book of the second Spanish lit month .I first heard of this book when Frank the translator mentioned it was meant to be coming a couple of years ago ,but with delays it didn’t arrive to this year .What first grabbed me was when I read up about  Andrés Caicedo life ,this was his only book ,he killed himself after this book came out .He had said to live more than twenty-five years was madness .He lived in Cali the main setting for the book ,had a deep love of cinema which meant he had dreamed of selling his plays to Roger Corman .He ran a club showing films and discussing the films with the students and intellectuals of Cali .Anyway for more go to his Wiki page  .

I’m blonde ,blondissima .So blonde that guys say ,hey angel ,you only have to flick that lustrous mane of hair over my face to free me of the shadows hounding me .it was no shadow on their faces but death .And I was scared to lose my sheen .

The opening lines of Liveforever .


Now to the book ,it’s a sort of coming of age story ,we spend time with María del Carmen Huerta ,Her story is told as she is now a high class prostitute ,her best days in that job behind her she looks at her life and this one day .The day she he miss school and just dance the way through the city of Cali ,from her own end of the city the upper class part of town ,her father is the man the photos the upper classes of the city ,the music she hears and moves to is the rolling stones western rock ,but as she moves down into the seedier darker side of the city ,junkies and drugs but also the salsa beats drive the city out open doors ,dance schools we see Maria drawn further into this world as her body pulsates with the beats of this part of town .As we see Maria drift between the groups within the city .Maria journey is one for her of discovery about herself and her world .

Who knows who maps our path through this world or how they do so ; here in beautiful Cali I am the queen of guganco I stepped out into the street ,into the sky so clear ! An enormous moon and deep wind from the mountains bore witness to my devastating revelations in that moment : that everything in life is lyrics ,is words .Maybe my words are of  a different order .

I found these lines so poetic ,Guganco is a type of Cuban rumba .

Now its hard not to miss connection with other books ,frank posted a review of this book that mention catch in the rye ,yes I agree partly with that but Maria isn’t a Holden for me .Caicedo was known for his wanting to break away from the writers of the Latin american boom in his writing ,so it hard to compare with writers around him from that time like of Marquez or Lllosa  as seen in the opening quote on this review .No this is far more a book about setting forth ,setting free a mind .A woman discovering herself and her body at the same time ,of course Nada springs to mind ,the Spanish catcher in the rye ,but also the style of literature she was involved with the Tremendisomo ,the world told in its brutal and true way ,having just read Cela another master of this art ,I can see part of this in Caicedo writing the brutal nature of the city of Cali comes alive and burst of the page .Add to that his love of films Corman in particular ,Corman made the film The trip about LSD ,which ike this book caught the experience of taking drugs .The other main part of this book is the music there is a three page discography of the music that is feature within the book ,from the driving rolling stones of the seventies ,through salsa ,I brought a number of the tracks from the discography into a spotify playlist  which I suggest you listen too and get a real feel of the book and the pace of Caicedo writing .So welcome to spanish lit month .


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Geosi
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 10:48:02

    thanks for bringing some new authors to me. Does sound like one I would love to read. all best.


  2. MarinaSofia
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 11:00:51

    Sounds interesting, different and just a little scary… the author, I mean. Thanks for the introduction, have a great Spanish Lit month!


  3. jacquiwine
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 11:15:51

    I need to have another crack at this one, Stu, especially now I’ve read your review. I started it a couple of weeks ago, right in the middle of a load of other distractions at home, and I lost the thread about one-third of the way in. I’ll go back to it as I should give it the attention it clearly deserves.
    Looking forward to Spanish Lit Month.


  4. Richard
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 14:07:05

    Sounds like a book I’d like a lot, Stu, and it’s always nice to be reminded of Laforet’s Nada in a review whether or not The Catcher in the Rye comparisons hold up (I’d never thought about comparing those two books myself). Will have to track this down at some point. Anyway, will join you before Spanish Lit Month before too long but sometime after both World Cup matches today–with corresponding recuperation time. Nice choice for your first Spanish lit Month II post!


  5. 1streading
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 18:54:41

    Sounds like an interesting book – though perhaps also a love /hate one. Liked the inclusion of a playlist! Hoping to put my first Spanish Lit month entry on today.


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  7. Tony
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 20:54:37

    I can confirm that it’s an excellent book – go and check it out, everyone 😉


  8. bythefirelight
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 04:57:25

    Nice. Sounds interesting. I like the Fuguet quote.


  9. bythefirelight
    Jul 02, 2014 @ 04:58:15

    I’m not sure your Spotify link is working correctly. I’m getting a 404 page when I click it.


  10. Trackback: Liveforever by Andrés Caicedo, tr. by Frank Wynne | JacquiWine's Journal
  11. ladelibroabierto
    Aug 17, 2014 @ 17:57:23


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July 2014


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