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Top 10 books about Colombia

Growing up in Colombia in the 1990s, I rarely saw any tourists. That has changed dramatically in the past decade, especially following a historic peace deal with the Farc in 2016. My novel The Anthill examines the transformation of Medellín from a war-torn city wracked by violence into a trendy, rapidly gentrifying destination for digital nomads, bitcoin investors and self-righteous religious groups. But the past is never easily shed.

It’s wonderful that more people are interested in Colombia, but there’s so much more to it than Gabriel García Márquez, coffee, and its violent past. It’s unlikely that any of us are going on any international trips anytime soon, but in the meantime, here’s a list of my favourite books about the country, which will hopefully help keep the travel bug in check, and better acquaint readers with depictions of Colombia beyond the headlines.

1. Liveforever by Andrés Caicedo, translated by Frank Wynne

A cult novel, the Spanish title of Liveforever is ¡Que viva la música! (Long Live Music!). Music is the book’s obsessive focus, as the story follows a young woman’s infatuation with salsa and rock, and her slow but steady descent into the underbelly of Cali, my home town. Nothing and no one is off limits, and there are no boundaries. Caicedo killed himself at the age 25, and the chaotic energy and underlying melancholy of Liveforever make you realise what a terrible loss his death was to literature.

2. Fiebre Tropical by Juli Delgado Lopera
Published during the height of the pandemic, Fiebre Tropical is about a teenage girl transplanted from the cold mountains of Bogotá to the strange sweaty world of Miami, a new life

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