In the Beginning was the Sea” by Tomás González

Tomas-GonzalezShortlisted for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction prize

J. and Elena abandon their life in the bohemian, intellectual circles of Medellin and move to the sea, to a desolate, barren stretch of coastline somewhere in Antioquía, where they sink every peso they possess into buying a finca – a vast estate of several hundred hectares.. Neither has any experience of farming, of rural life, or of the customs and traditions of the local people; instead they are driven by a naive dream of Eden before the fall, of a life lived in harmony with a Nature they assume is bountiful and generous. Gradually, the savage weather, their mounting debts, their very innocence and the sea itself will crush and eventually destroy them.

Praise for In the Beginning was the Sea

‘Taut, uncompromising study of the faultlines in all of us… Frank Wynne, who has recently published a wonderful rendition of González’s Colombian contemporary Andrés Caicedo, is responsible for yet another flawless job: his ear is well attuned to the idiosyncrasies of González’s dialogue, and the novel’s shy poetry loses nothing in his version.’ – Juan-Gabriel Vasquez, Guardian

‘A modern Colombian classic…both a story about death and about practical objects’ Financial Times

‘Extremely potent: sly, voyeuristic, ominously poetic’ TLS

‘A novel that lingers’ Four-star review Telegraph

‘The lauded Colombian novelist lives up to the hype…extraordinarily evocative’ Independent

‘Smoothly intriguing narrative, with its touches of sinister, Patricia Highsmith-like menace… a brilliantly laconic, sophisticated translation by … Frank Wynne who, ever alert to every surreal nuance, conveys the disturbing humour with the panache of a master’ Irish Times

‘A brief, pungent, powerful and unusual tale’ – Monocle

‘Haunting’ – Metro

‘Skillfully planted with narrative bombs… you can hear it ticking’ – Intelligent Life

‘Quietly unsettling, elegantly written’ – Sunday Express

‘A fascinating sociological experiment…Tomás González writes with descriptive beauty and subtle irony’  – The Literateur

‘Through the sparse language and the handpicked metaphors, the exotic island that J. and Elena inhabit and the realities of mainland South America come to life… lean and severe but still ultimately artistic’ Four-star review  – Bookbag

‘As menacingly taut as Hemingway’s, and his superlative telling of an idealistic couple’s relationship coming apart at the seams brings to mind any number of US fiction’s modern heroes, from Richard Yates to Jhumpa Lahiri’  – Quadrapheme

‘A fascinatingly dark character study…Unflinching, and pitch perfect trip into the dark heart of Colombia and hippy culture in general…above all a powerful debut’  – Upcoming4Me

Comments are closed.