Saturday, June 04, 2016

Héctor Abad's Oblivion: A Memoir

I greatly enjoyed Héctor Abad's Oblivion: A Memoir. It is a story that takes place in Medellín from the 1960s until Abad's father is assassinated by paramilitaries in 1987. It is a love letter to his father, who he believed was perfect, and it is also a tragic portrait of dysfunctional Colombian politics and society, where there was no room for the center-left position his father was trying to carve out.

It's touching how much he loves his father, and the story is always emotional, especially because you know how it's going to end. His father was a doctor who believed in going out to see the poor, which alone made him Marxist in the eyes of many. Later he protested paramilitary murders, which sealed that impression. Marxists criticized him for rejecting violence, so he was always stuck in the middle.

The title refers to a poem by Borges, which centers on how eventually even memories of us disappear and we are truly nothing. This was Abad's way of pushing back against that a bit, to make sure his father was memorialized. I certainly won't forget him.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP