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Simpatía

By Rodrigo Blanco Calderón & Noel Hernández González &
Simpatía by Rodrigo Blanco Calderón & Noel Hernández González &  digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2024 INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE

Rodrigo Blanco Calderón has established himself as one of the great voices of Latin American literature with his debut novel The Night, and his short story collection Sacrifices.

Simpatía is a suspenseful novel with unexpected twists and turns about the agony of Venezuela and the collapse of Chavismo.


Simpatía is set in the Venezuela of Nicolas Maduro amid a mass exodus of the intellectual class who have been leaving their pets behind. Ulises Kan, the protagonist and a movie buff, receives a text message from his wife, Paulina, saying she is leaving the country (and him). Ulises is not heartbroken but liberated by Paulina's departure. Two other events end up disrupting his life even further: the return of Nadine, an unrequited love from the past, and the death of his father-in-law, General Martín Ayala. Thanks to Ayala’s will, Ulises discovers that he has been entrusted with a mission—to transform Los Argonautas, the great family home, into a shelter for abandoned dogs. If he manages to do it in time, he will inherit the luxurious apartment that he had shared with Paulina.

This novel centers on themes of family and orphanhood in order to address the abuse of power by a patrilineage of political figures in Latin America, from Simón Bolívar to Hugo Chávez. The untranslatable title, Simpatía, which means both sympathy and charm, ironically references the qualities these political figures share. In a morally bankrupt society, where all human ties seem to have dissolved, Ulises is like a stray dog picking up scraps of sympathy. Can you really know who you love? What is, in essence, a family? Are abandoned dogs proof of the existence or non-existence of God? Ulises unknowingly embodies these questions, as a pilgrim of affection in a post-love era.

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About Rodrigo Blanco Calderón

Rodrigo Blanco Calderón is a writer and editor. He has received various awards for his stories both inside and outside Venezuela. In 2007, he was invited to join the Bogotá39 group, which brings together the best Latin American narrators under thirty-nine years old. In 2013, he was a guest writer at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. In 2014, his story “Emuntorios” was included in Thirteen Crime Stories from Latin America, volume number forty-six of McSweeney's. With his first novel, The Night (Seven Stories Press, 2022), he won the 2016 Paris Rive Gauche Prize, the Critics Award in Venezuela, and the 2019 Mario Vargas Llosa Biennial Prize. His story “The Mad People of Paris,” included in his 2022 collection, Sacrifices (Seven Stories Press, 2022), won the O. Henry Prize and was included in The Best Short Stories 2023: The O. Henry Prize Winners, guest edited by Lauren Groff.  Daniel Hahn is an award-winning writer, editor, and translator with about a hundred books to his name. He lives in Lewes, England. Noel Hernández González is a writer and translator. Originally from Spain, he lives in Norwich, England.

Noel Hernández González

Other books by Noel Hernández González

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