Sin rumbo, dese'perao
Photo of Bogota by JuanDiego* used under a Creative Commons license.

Laura Restrepo, A Tale of the Dispossessed (Harper Perennial, 2004).
Writing in Salon’s Literary Guide to the World
, Matthew Fishbane recommends this novella:

Of translated Colombians, only . . . Restrepo — like García Márquez, a prizewinner and journalist — continues to write as a magical realist: news reinvented as timeless romance by encasing specific, reported detail in a “years ago and far away” frame. This method works well in [this] precious, short love story between three of the estimated 3 million civil conflict refugees choking Colombian cities. Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” . . . provides a fitting epigraph: “Strange things happen to people who are fleeing from terror ( … ); some are cruel, and others are so beautiful that faith is renewed.” Restrepo chronicles this faith, “the mad euphoria of being alive, so characteristic of this indescribable land,” and her characters, though worn, often land on the side of beauty. “There’s no country on earth as beautiful as this one,” says the sheltering narrator. “No, there isn’t,” answers the dispossessed, “nor a more murderous one, either.”

This edition includes both the Spanish and English text.

Here is Google Book Search. Here are the Wikipedia page about Restrepo and a brief, unofficial biography. Trey Popp reviewed it in the San Francisco Chronicle. Jaime Manrique interviewed Restrepo in 2002 for Bomb (via D. Caraccioli ).

Buy it at, or try this link for a bargain price.