A novel about a political cartoonist at the height of his powers. But this all changes when he's paid an unexpected visit from a young woman who upends his sense of personal history and forces him to re-evaluate his life and work, questioning his position in the world.
The novel’s brilliance is that we, wanting to know what happened to that sleeping girl, become Mallarino’s accomplices; the novel’s genius is that we, greedy for certainty, become Mallarino’s prey. Like Samanta we are left with something unforgettable ... Reputations can be read and enjoyed on many levels: for its reflections on art, memory and fate; for its account of recent Colombian history at a slant, which is Vásquez’s trademark approach; for its Jungian exploration of lives intersecting ... a masterly book.
...line for line Vásquez is a penetrating force, and the most pressing Colombian writer today ... I'd have loved to see Vásquez delve deeper into some of the consequences of art imitating life, where, in his words, 'opinions have their effects.' But Reputations is a powerful, concentrated achievement.
The first section of the book is full of promise ... Vásquez’s prose, translated by Anne McLean, is spare and effective, with a pleasing precision ... However, as the story develops some bewildering flaws spoil things ... what I was hoping would be a meditation on the pressures on free speech during a civil war, on the human impact of terrorism, on the tension between the desire for recognition and artistic credibility, gets bogged down in misguided sexual dynamics.