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Leopard in the Sun Paperback – September 12, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (September 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375705082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375705083
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,916,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Basing her transcendent novel on contemporary events in her native Colombia, Restrepo (The Angel of Galilea) tells a riveting tale of the vicious war between two families made wealthy by crime and clandestine business. Nando Barrag n begins his career selling Marlboros on the black market. In a surge of drunken rage, he impulsively kills his beloved cousin, Adriano Monsalve, over the attentions of a widow, and immediately "knows he has entered the fathomless domain of fate." Although he desires penance, he is informed in a dream that his rash act means a terrible new existence for both families: the Monsalves and the Barrag ns are bound to slaughter each other until all the males on one side are dead. Each act of vengeance is ritually committed on a zeta, or anniversary, of a family death, and the violence continues for two decades until only four Barrag n males are left. Battle-hardened Nando heads the Barrag ns, and Adriano's nouveau-riche younger brother, Mani, married to beautiful Alina, leads the Monsalves. Then Alina gets pregnant and issues an ultimatum: one more murder and she will leave Mani. Unfortunately, that murder is already in motion. Mani's efforts to launder his money and lifestyle and win back his wife, and the escalation of the war past the bounds of prophecy and tradition until it requires drug money and hired assassins, are the forces that drive the novel toward its tragic end. Restrepo's singular narrative style, in which her present-tense exposition is frequently interrupted by conversations between neighborhood onlookers, who debate the particulars of the story being told and present their own versions, retains echoes of magic realism, but has a freshness that is all its own. Brutal, intense and beautifully written, the novel delves deep into family hierarchies, the heady glamour and destructive power of sudden wealth and the play between fact and legend. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This family epic set in contemporary Colombia holds all the indulgent pleasures of the tragic, steamy telenovellas watched by the novel's characters. The Monsalves and the Barragans are related criminal families launched by a single murder into a bloody war of revenge against each other. Most of the characters are easily identifiable types--the golden child, the brute, the secretly sexy maiden aunt, the beauty queen--which the author remains faithful to in her description; the attractive characters remain gods and goddesses, the unattractive are portraits of hideous brutality. As each family builds up its shady, prosperous businesses, its members continue cyclical, ritualistic assassinations of the opposite clan, a culture of violence that ultimately destroys the book's central love story. Despite all the blood spilled and tortures endured, this is old-fashioned brutality, based on traditions and loyalty, until the story's end, when cocaine becomes the family business and enemies become global. In narration that includes commentary by unseen, omniscient town gossips, Restrepo combines prose swollen with sensory description and magical exaggeration with a journalistic precision. Gillian Engberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By bill katovsky on October 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i approach magical realism with as much skepticism permitted this rational being, but leopard in the sun only hints at the unseen to provide a lyrical and haunting saga of colombia's own hatfield and mccoy blood feud. the writing is pitch perfect, the characters limned to symbolic fullness, the plot a potboiler. combine west side story, scarface, with some premodern juju, and you might arrive at the sense of this wonderful book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Hyatt on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
One can't help but feel saddened at the feud between the Barragans and the Monsalves, which is the premise of this story. The characters are colorful and emotionally riveting... you actually feel sorry for Mani, who has to choose between loyalty to a long-held traditiion or the wishes of his expectant wife. I think Laura Restrepo is one of the most talented writers of our generation, and she is able to weave fact and fiction, fantasy and reality into an incredible tale of lust, greed, vengeance and filial duty. Utterly amazing story!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Old School but Kicking on April 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This ought to be required reading for every politician in Washington. It explores the culture of Columbia and lays bare why we are fools to try to intervene in something we hardly understand.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Brigandi on March 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Hackneyed magic realism - kitsch and cliche.

The cover of this edition features a quote from Marquez:

"...unmistakeable reading pleasure."

Surely the complete quote must be something along the lines of:

"Even Stefan Zweig, in comparison, inspires unmistakeable reading pleasure."

Read The Lizard's Tail by Valenzuela or Ship of Fools by Peri Rossi instead. Leopard in the Sun is unmistakeably dispensable.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For those interested in reading about Colombian society, this work of fiction is a good read. Though not extremely profound, it is nevertheless entertaining.
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