This is a simple book, with a simple but deep language that leads the reader to think about himself in relation to nature and what surrounds him
What's it about?
In the Beginning Was the Sea tells the story of J. and Elena, a couple of two Antioqueños who are going to live on a small island near the Gulf of Urabá, fleeing from everything the city implied for them and seeking to fulfill J's dream of having a quiet life in front of the sea. He buys a farm on the island and plans to live on what is produced naturally, but his plans are frustrated when he encounters a wild place that is uncontrollable and cannot be domesticated.
Leer en español: Latam BookLook: "Primero estaba el mar" de Tomás González
From an omniscient narrator, we get to know J. and his past, his aspirations, his defeats and his frustration for not having what he wants, because he is still indebted, because his wife drives him crazy and because things on the farm do not go out as he wants. After a few chapters, a room is mentioned where "later [...] the corpse would be washed", and it is from there that the book develops the plot that will later lead us to know who the corpse is and what were the conditions in which the mysterious character died.
Throughout the book, J. is creating close relationships with several of the locals of the Island and it is there where we can see how problematic it becomes for him to live in an area that at one time he thought he dreamed. From the beginning, he had the certainty that he would not knock down a single tree to get money, but when he becomes involved in debt he resorts to it and it is at that moment that nature itself slowly swallows it up.
You can also read: Latam BookLook: "House of Beauty" by Melba Escobar
Who wrote it?
This is the first book published by Tomás González, a Colombian author born in Medellín in 1947. Influenced by his uncle, the philosopher and author Fernando González, he studied Philosophy and Letters at the National University. Until a few years ago his work began to be highly recognized throughout the world, he is even an acclaimed author in Germany.
His writing is characterized by a systematic union between all his novels, including stories and poems, a union that many call 'family saga' because in most of his novels and stories we find that the protagonists are relatives of the protagonists of other books. He has written 9 novels, among which are Para antes del olvido (1987) La luz difícil (2011), and El expreso del sol (2016), three storybooks and one poetry.
His work is also disrupted by his personal life, so we can find stories that are based on facts of his private life or the historical moment he was going through, such as his life in New York, Bogotá or Medellín.
He currently resides in Cachipai, Colombia, and keeps writing.
You can also read: Latam BookLook: "The Power" by Naomi Alderman
Read of pass?
Reading Tomás González implies having an approach to Colombian culture in a very personal way. In the Beginning Was the Sea is to understand the social reality of the country in the second half of the twentieth century from the story of a single character without the need to make explicit reference to violent events, but the demons of any human being.
This book is perfect for those who are looking to meet more Colombian authors and have the wonderful experience of not being able to release the book until it has been completely finished. This is a simple book, with a simple but deep language that leads the reader to think about himself in relation to nature and what surrounds it.
LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero
Translated from "Latam BookLook: "Primero estaba el mar" de Tomás González
Listen this article