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.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Rebecca Hall on her film career so far: ‘I’ve played too many repressed neurotics’
Hercules, review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson takes centre stage in preposterous movie
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Game of Thrones Sansa Stark actress Sophie Turner stars in Bastille's 'Oblivion' video
50 Shades of Grey movie trailer declared sexy and sexist on Twitter
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia