Old Street, £9.99, 262pp £9.49 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Oblivion: A Memoir, By Hector Abad
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Friday 04 November 2011
On 25 August 1987, Dr Hector Abad Gómez of Medellín, Colombia – radical physician, public-health specialist, human-rights activist – was murdered by paramilitary thugs. So one more good man fell to the powers of darkness that engulfed his country.
But memory, love and language have weapons against oblivion. Now a leading Colombian writer, his son Hector Abad delivers a family memoir that deserves classic status.
Abad mixes tender, loving respect with an objectivity that lets him trace the "temptation to martyrdom" that his father may have felt after his daughter Marta's death.
The book (translated by Anne McLean and Rosalind Harvey) not only pays radiant homage to a hero but champions the path of peaceful change he so steadfastly took.
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