By Gustavo Faverón-Patriau
Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
Gustavo Faverón Patriau's masterfully coneived debut novel The Antiquarian tells a sophisticated and spellbinding story of passion, murder, and madness set against the restless landscape of a South American city consumed by corruption and violence.
Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend, Daniel, who has been interned in a psychiatric ward for murdering his fiancée. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess the truth behind the crime, Gustavo's long-buried fraternal loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic investigation through an underground network of antiquarian dealers.
While Daniel reveals his unsettling story using fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past for clues: from their early college days exploring dust-filled libraries and exotic brothels to Daniel's intimate attachment to his sickly younger sister and his dealings as a book collector. As the circumstances grow increasingly macabre with every turn, Gustavo is forced to deduce an intricate series of events from allegories that are more real than police reports and metaphors more revealing than evidence. And when a woman in the ward is found murdered, Daniel is declared the prime suspect, and Gustavo plummets deeper into the mysterious case.
With sumptuous prose and haunting imagery, Faverón Patriau has crafted an unforgettable, labyrinthine tale about heartbreak and suffering, the healing power of stories, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship. The Antiquarian is as entertaining as it is erudite and dark as it is illuminating.
- From the cover.