Juan Gabriel Vásquez is the author of The Sound of Things Falling and The Shape of the Ruins, among other novels, and of the forthcoming short-story collection Songs for the Flames. He has translated works by Joseph Conrad and Victor Hugo into Spanish. His work is published in thirty languages worldwide.
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 . . .