Gabriel: Short Story

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Arden and Gabriel: An Off the Grid short story

Some 17 years have passed since Juan Gabriel Vasquez published his first book of short stories, "Lovers on All Saints' Day," and he now returns to the genre like someone getting back together with an old friend in "Canciones para el Incendio" Songs for the Fire , a book of short stories in which he looks for the same answers he has looked for in his novels. Those are the basic questions throughout the book," he told EFE in an interview. Nine short stories make up "Canciones para el Incendio," published by Alfaguara.

In some he himself appears as a character, while in others he goes on to study the burden of history, the darkest twists and turns of politics, the Colombian conflict and the origin of violence.

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But yes, Vasquez warns readers beforehand that the questions he wants answered are the same that Sophocles asked 25 centuries ago, and "if I find the answers it would be more than fortunate. He admits being "obsessed" with this subject, which is "often" noticeable in the characters of his short stories. Among them "are people for whom the past continues to be present and the ghosts of the past continue to shape their lives.

As he did in "The Shape of the Ruins," the writer born in Bogota in has again made himself into a character, something that is hard, he admits, since writing from his biography "isn't just a very difficult exercise that is always accompanied by a certain shame, but also, and paradoxically, it reaps illumination from an experience. For the author, that Juan Gabriel Vasquez character allows him to put himself in the "line of moral fire.

Skip to main content. Just tell me. Did something happen—? They should be here later in the afternoon.

Short Stories

He laughed, the ringing deepness of it a reassurance. Not mine, at least. I dug my spoon through a dollop of fresh cream and into the soft, still bubbling apple before giving it a quick puff of air and shoving it into my mouth.


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The mixture of cool cream and sweet cinnamon goodness combined on my tongue in a flavorgasm that would have been perfect if not for Gabriel fidgeting beside me. His hand was in his pocket again instead of ferrying food toward his face, and his leg was jumping nervously. I willed myself not to whirl on him and demand answers. I scooped up another mouthful and almost bit my tongue when he jumped out of his seat. His hand left his pocket clasping his phone. Yeah, yeah. The bite of apple grated down my throat. He took a deep breath and began punching numbers into the phone, messing up once because his hands were shaking.

Gruffness was one thing, but hand shaking was quite another. He turned and leaned back against the counter, his gaze locked on mine.

He cleared his throat. Yes, this is Gabriel. Of course. Except my crush was with me. Gabriel leaned forward and pressed the phone to my ear, and I clutched it, listening into the void. Did I always sound like a stressed-out chipmunk? That voice.


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  • It had taught me the ABCs, reamed me out when I dug up his garden looking for treasure and told me I was the most special girl in the world. I clutched his hand against my chest, squeezing it as though it was the only thing keeping me from shattering into pieces.

    Gabriel- "The Angel who fell from Heaven" (a short story... fiction)

    Given the way my heart was pounding and my body was trembling, that might not have been an exaggeration. How the hell?

    Juan Gabriel Vasquez returns to short story looking for answers | AL DÍA News

    There was so much I wanted to say, but I could only manage a strange hiccupping keen. I knew you were too stubborn to be gone. But there was a gap in that comfort, letting in a stream of cold air. Mom, who had loved me regardless. I jumped out of my seat and Gabe jumped with me, pacing beside me. The frayed magic that held our call together mended itself, and suddenly a prim, restrained voice was murmuring threats through the speaker. Is that how you greet your mother? Then she laughed, the deep belly laugh that she always told me was improper when it was coming from me.


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    Years of guilt and self-flagellation rushed at me, and I was suddenly tempted to throw the phone across the kitchen. What could I say to her?

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    I felt her forgiveness before she spoke the words. Still, her next question scared me. Lucien, come close so you can hear. Go ahead, Arden. It was then that the weight lifted from my shoulders.