Juan Gabriel Vásquez was born in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1973. He is the author of the novels The Informers, The Secret History of Costaguana, and The Sound of Things Falling, and has translated works by Victor Hugo and E. M. Forster, among others, into Spanish. His work is published in fifteen languages.
I. A year ago, almost to the day, my friend Enrique de Hériz—novelist, translator, clarinet player, amateur magician, knowledgeable sailor, and marathon runner—was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had been my only acquaintance when I arrived in Barcelona in October . . .