Difficult Light

by

Translated from by

Published: Coming August 2020

$18.00

This item will be released on August 11, 2020.
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Book Description

Grappling with his son’s death, the painter David explores his grief through art and writing, etching out the rippled landscape of his loss.

Over twenty years after his son’s death, nearly blind and unable to paint, David turns to writing to examine the deep shades of his loss. Despite his acute pain, or perhaps because of it, David observes beauty in the ordinary: in the resemblance of a woman to Egyptian portraits, in the horseshoe crabs that wash up on Coney Island, in the foam gathering behind a ferry propeller; in these moments, González reveals the world through a painter’s eyes. From one of Colombia’s greatest contemporary novelists, Difficult Light is a daring meditation on grief, written in candid, arresting prose.

Copyright information for Difficult Light’s cover photograph:
Saul Leiter, Perry Street Cat, c. 1949
© Saul Leiter Foundation, courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery
A very poetic reverie . . . This is in some ways a reflection on aging . . . and in others simply a picturesque and vivid remembrance of the moments that mattered in one person’s life. At the bottom of it all is the narrator’s unending grief over his son, Jacobo, paralyzed when a junkie driving a pickup truck struck the taxi he was riding in at the time . . . The book’s narrative style is both modest and subdued, no doubt aided by Rosenberg, who previously translated the author’s last work, The Storm (2018).
Kirkus Reviews


Self-delusion, hallucinations, anger, volatility chafe against the soothing waters and the stars above, and González, one of South America's most acclaimed and pitch-perfect novelists, plunges you into the brutality of man and nature alike.

Kerri Arsenault


González’s last two novels, Difficult Light and The Storm were both hailed as quiet masterpieces at the time of their publication in Colombia . . . Through all his work you find the peaceful writing that admirably traces the ugliness of the world; the confidence of the narrative voice, seemingly conventional while eschewing the straitjackets of realism . . . He has a mysterious ability to uplift the commonplace and turn it into unforgettable images through careful observation and sensuous detail.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez, The Guardian


González invokes both Hemingway and Faulkner in his treatment of tortured family dynamics and laces the three - way banter in the boat with a fascinating, near - toxic atmosphere of machismo.

Publishers Weekly


In Andrea Rosenberg’s translation, the author’s stylistic traits – short and pointed phrases, poetic descriptions and poetic monologues – shine and linger in the reader’s ear . . . The Storm arrives as a welcome addition to the international recognition of one Colombia’s most prolific and poetic writers.

Nicolás Lano, Asymptote Journal


Difficult Light by Tomás González is about an old painter rapidly turning blind, mediating on one of the most impactful events in his life, the death of his oldest son Jacobo...counting down the minutes to the scheduled death of this beloved son, which could be called off at any moment, if the son wished to do so, is part of the strange thrill of the book. As the implications for the looming deadline become more clear, the countdown adds a slightly perverted sense of suspense.

Franzisca Lamprecht, Full Stop