The Greatest Colombian "Fiction" Books Since 1980

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 280 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    This novel follows the story of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, who fall passionately in love in their youth. However, Fermina eventually marries a wealthy doctor, leaving Florentino heartbroken. Despite this, Florentino remains devoted to Fermina for over fifty years, patiently waiting for her husband's death to have another chance at her love. The story is set against the backdrop of a cholera epidemic, serving as a metaphor for the transformative power of love and the destructive power of obsession.

  2. 2. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    The novel unfolds as a murder mystery, revealing the planned revenge killing of a young man named Santiago Nasar by the Vicario brothers. They believe Santiago has dishonored their sister, Angela, by taking her virginity before her marriage to another man. Despite the impending murder being common knowledge within the small Colombian town, a series of coincidences and misunderstandings prevent anyone from intervening, leading to Santiago's tragic and foretold demise. The narrative explores themes of honor, fate, and the collective responsibility of a community.

  3. 3. The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Alvaro Mutis

    "The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll" is a collection of seven novellas that follow the life of Maqroll, a seafarer and adventurer. The stories, set in various locations around the globe, are filled with philosophical musings, poetic language, and vivid descriptions of exotic locales. Maqroll's encounters with a host of characters, from pirates to prostitutes, and his experiences with love, loss, and loneliness, all contribute to a richly textured narrative that explores the human condition and the nature of existence.

  4. 4. Our Lady of the Assassins by Fernando Vallejo

    This novel is a dark and gripping exploration of life in Medellín, Colombia, during the height of the drug wars. The protagonist, a middle-aged writer, returns home after many years abroad, only to find his city ravaged by violence and death. He falls in love with two teenage assassins, who guide him through the underworld of the city, exposing him to the brutal realities of life in a place where human life has lost all value. The story is a bleak commentary on the devastating effects of drug trafficking and political corruption on society.

  5. 5. The Sound Of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

    "The Sound Of Things Falling" is a thought-provoking novel that delves into the complex and haunting aftermath of the drug trade in Colombia. Set against the backdrop of a turbulent country, the story follows the lives of two men whose paths intertwine in unexpected ways. Through vivid storytelling and poignant reflections, the book explores themes of memory, guilt, and the lasting impact of violence on individuals and society.

  6. 6. In The Beginning Was The Sea by Tomás González

    The novel follows a disillusioned urban couple who seek to escape the chaos and superficiality of city life by moving to a remote tropical coast in Colombia. Dreaming of a simpler existence and self-sufficiency, they purchase a decrepit estate, but their idealistic venture quickly deteriorates as they face a harsh reality. The couple's relationship strains under the pressures of the unforgiving environment, isolation, and the challenges of their new rural life, leading to a tragic culmination. The story is a profound meditation on the complexities of nature, the fragility of human ambition, and the illusory nature of utopian dreams.

  7. 7. Changó, The Biggest Badass by Manuel Zapata Olivella

    This novel is a vibrant tapestry of African heritage and the diasporic experience, weaving together the rich history, mythology, and spirituality of the African continent with the brutal realities of slavery in the Americas. It follows the life of Changó, a powerful African king and deity in the Yoruba religion, who embodies strength, passion, and the struggle for justice. Through his journey, the narrative explores themes of resistance, cultural identity, and the enduring spirit of African people as they navigate and influence the New World, all while maintaining a connection to their ancestral roots and traditions.

  8. 8. Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    "Strange Pilgrims" is a collection of twelve short stories that explore the lives of Latin American characters who find themselves in unfamiliar European settings. The tales, infused with magical realism, delve into themes of dislocation, love, death, and the surreal experiences of immigrants. The characters, often caught between their old world and the new, face unexpected situations and encounters that challenge their understanding of reality. The stories weave a tapestry of poignant, strange, and sometimes whimsical narratives that reflect the author's signature style of blending the fantastic with the ordinary.

  9. 9. En Diciembre Llegaban Las Brisas by Marvel Moreno

    Set in the Caribbean region of Colombia, the novel weaves a tapestry of stories focusing on the lives of women from different social backgrounds, spanning several decades of the 20th century. It explores themes of love, betrayal, and the oppressive social norms that dictate women's lives. Through a series of interconnected narratives, the book delves into the personal struggles and intimate experiences of its characters, revealing the complex interplay between societal expectations and personal desires. The arrival of the December breezes serves as a metaphor for the winds of change, challenging the status quo and bringing to light the underlying tensions within this traditional society.

  10. 10. Delirio(premio Alfaguara 2004) by Laura Restrepo

    The novel revolves around a man who returns to Bogotá from a business trip only to find his wife has succumbed to an inexplicable bout of madness during his absence. As he seeks to uncover the roots of her delirium, he delves into her past and the dark history of his country, encountering a tapestry of characters from various strata of Colombian society. The narrative weaves together personal and political elements, exploring themes of love, violence, and the impact of the drug trade, ultimately painting a portrait of a society where reality and madness are intertwined.

  11. 11. Un Beso De Dick by Fernando Molano

    "Un Beso de Dick" is a poignant and intimate exploration of young love and self-discovery set in Colombia. The novel follows the life of a teenage boy who grapples with his emerging sexuality and the intense feelings he harbors for another boy. Amidst the backdrop of a conservative society, the protagonist navigates the complexities of friendship, passion, and the search for identity. The narrative delves into the emotional turmoil and the challenges faced by those who dare to defy societal norms, ultimately offering a narrative that is both tender and heart-wrenching as it reveals the transformative power of love and acceptance.

  12. 12. The Armies by Evelio Rosero

    The novel delves into the harrowing experiences of Ismael, an elderly retired teacher in a small Colombian town plagued by political violence. As he navigates the complexities of his daily life, which includes a deep affection for his garden and his wife, the town becomes increasingly engulfed by the chaos of warring factions. The narrative captures the sense of dread and the abruptness of violence as neighbors disappear and the social fabric unravels, revealing the profound impact of conflict on ordinary lives. Ismael's journey becomes a poignant exploration of the human condition amidst the terror of the unseen and the struggle to maintain a semblance of normalcy and dignity in a world falling apart.

  13. 13. Los Estratos by Juan Cárdenas

    "Los Estratos" is a thought-provoking novel that delves into the complexities of social stratification and personal identity in contemporary Colombia. Through the eyes of its protagonist, a middle-aged man undergoing an existential crisis, the narrative explores themes of class, race, and the search for meaning in a society marked by deep inequalities and historical scars. As he navigates a series of encounters with various individuals from different social layers, the protagonist's introspective journey reveals the fragmented nature of human experience and the elusive quest for self-understanding within the stratified landscape of modern life.

  14. 14. The Children by Carolina Sanín

    The book is a haunting exploration of solitude and the unexpected ways in which lives can intersect. It follows the story of a woman who leads a solitary life in a city, her routine existence disrupted by the sudden appearance of a silent, enigmatic child at her doorstep. As she takes the child into her home, the woman is drawn into a surreal journey that blurs the lines between reality and imagination, prompting her to confront her own past and the mysteries of human connection. The narrative weaves a tapestry of magical realism and psychological depth, examining themes of loneliness, motherhood, and the search for belonging in an indifferent world.

  15. 15. The Bitch by Pilar Quintana

    The novel explores the intense bond between a young woman and her dog as they navigate life in a remote, impoverished village on the Colombian Pacific coast. The protagonist, who struggles with the harsh realities of her environment and the societal expectations placed upon her, finds solace in her relationship with the dog. However, when the dog gives birth to a litter and a tragic event occurs, the woman is forced to confront the brutal nature of her world and the instincts that drive both human and animal behavior. The story delves into themes of motherhood, survival, and the thin line between civilization and wildness.

  16. 16. Somos Luces Abismales by Carolina Sanin

    "Somos Luces Abismales" is a contemplative narrative that delves into the inner world of a woman who, while working as a teacher, grapples with the complexities of her existence and the nature of being. Through a series of introspective episodes and interactions with her students, she explores themes of loneliness, the search for meaning, and the human condition. The book weaves a tapestry of philosophical reflections, everyday occurrences, and the protagonist's personal revelations, painting a picture of life's profound and often overlooked moments.

  17. 17. An Orphan World by Giuseppe Caputo

    In this evocative novel, a father and son navigate the margins of a Latin American city, living in poverty and facing the dual threats of violence and social discrimination. Their bond is a source of strength and resilience as they confront the challenges of their precarious existence. The son, through a series of lyrical and poignant vignettes, explores his sexuality and seeks connection in a world that is often hostile to his desires. The narrative weaves a tapestry of love, loss, and longing, painting a portrait of a relationship that defies the darkness of their circumstances with moments of beauty and tenderness.

  18. 18. Los Días Azules by Fernando Vallejo

    "Los Días Azules" is a reflective and autobiographical narrative that delves into the author's memories of his childhood and youth in Colombia. The book paints a vivid picture of the author's family life, the cultural and social environment of his upbringing, and the formative experiences that shaped his worldview. Through a series of poignant and often critical recollections, the author explores themes of love, loss, and the passage of time, all set against the backdrop of a country marked by political turmoil and societal change. The narrative is characterized by its lyrical prose and introspective tone, offering readers a deeply personal glimpse into the author's past and the moments that have defined his life's journey.

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.