A Cóndor Dies, translated by Jonathan Tittler
“This is the virtue of A Condor Dies, a novel that with the passing of each day becomes more of a classic of our literature.” -Fabio Martínez, El Tiempo
A Condor Dies, written by Gustavo Alvarez Gardeazabal and translated by Jonathan Tittler, reveals the characters and events responsible for a period of violence in Colombia (1948-1962) so devastating that it has come to be called simply “La Violencia.”
This short novel details how León María Lozano, an asthmatic cheese vendor and Conservative Party fanatic, acquires such fame that the party bosses in the capital city of Bogotá appoint him boss of the “birds,” hired guns who roam the small city of Tuluá, systematically executing known and suspected Liberals. But when the inarticulate “Condor” loses control of his hitmen and is exiled to a neighboring city, the violence consumes the perpetrator, who is shot in the street during an asthma attack, fulfilling the prophecy of a soothsayer. Tuluá is left to gossip in wonderment about the forces that aligned to cause the history-making bloodshed and death within its ranks.
Now required reading as an historical account in Colombia’s national school curriculum, A Condor Dies shows how, long before the drug trade brought additional corruption to the South American nation, partisan violence already marked its path. Although the causes of this unfortunate situation are widely debated, its presence and impact cannot be denied.