Her very name-evoking the rosary, and scissors-bespeaks her conflict as a woman who becomes a contract killer to insulate herself from the random violence of the streets. Then she is shot, gravely wounded, and the circle of contradiction is closed. From the corridors of the hospital where Rosario is fighting for her life, Antonio, the narrator, waits to learn if she will recover. Through him, we reconstruct the friendship between the two, her love story with Emilio, and her life as a hitwoman.
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One of the fellow Colombians to whom "Gabo" wished to "pass the torch" was Jorge Franco, in his forties, whose anguished narco-realism is an age away from the butterflies of rural Macondo. Franco is part of a Latin American new wave dubbed the McOndo realists, in a nod to a magic-realist genre superseded by the urban ubiquity of McDonald's, Macintoshes and condos.
Narco-dollars encroached by stealth in the big buildings and luxury cars of the s, until drug lord Pablo Escobar took open control of the city through terror and kidnappings. In the novel this transformation is seen through the eyes of Antonio, a middle-class youth in hopeless love with the eponymous Rosario, a cinnamon-skinned girl-woman who earned her alias, Tijeras "scissors" , by castrating the man who raped her at Rosario is the most literal of femmes fatales, a hit woman hired by the Cartel to "tuck in" cops or meddlesome politicians, but who is paid back in her own coin, "shot at point-blank range while she was being kissed".
As Antonio paces the hospital where she lies, he retraces his unfulfilled passion. His rivals included his aristocratic friend Emilio "loaded down with ancestry and lineage" , and tough-guy drug lords encountered in flashy clubs that drew "the lower classes who were beginning to rise and those of us among the upper classes who were beginning to fall".
Like other mestizo youths from the hillside slums, Rosario gambles her life daily "in exchange for a few pesos to get a TV set, a showy refrigerator". Life "weighs on her with the weight of this country, her genes drag along a race of sons of plenty and sons of bitches who with the blade of a machete cleared the pathways of life Today the machete is a shotgun.
The siren whose kiss is death might recall the stock women characters of Franco's literary forefathers. Yet this is an adolescent's narrative and fantasy, which affords glimpses of a damaged and vulnerable woman, not least in her binge-eating after each hit. The pull of Antonio's amour fou - which destroys, "intimidates, diminishes, and drags you down" - reflects a wider bewilderment at how the "decent" middle class lost hold of a city and of their values.
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The American debut by award-winning Colombian novelist Franco is an energetic but awkward combination of As I Lay Dying and a Quentin Tarantino splatter-fest—a slim novel that leans more toward the latter's B-movie violence than Faulkner's penetrating examination of a character's death. Beginning when Rosario Tijeras is shot at point-blank range, the narrator, one Antonio, tells the story of the Colombian beauty who got her name Tijeras means scissors from the weapon she once used to castrate a man who attacked her. Unfortunately, his infatuation with Rosario, "one of those women who are poison and antidote at the same time," feels like a mixture of adolescent infatuation and routine sexual tension. Meanwhile, Rosario's story is full of South American hit men and drug runners; she's a neighborhood idol—"Castrate me with your kisses," reads graffiti scrawled in her honor—but she never feels completely real. Franco's prose is uneven: it's impassioned and colorful, but marred by overly dramatic lines like "Rosario looked most deadly and most woman when she was making love. During the Covid crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.
The format of the book was both untraditional and appropriate--interweaving the narrator's present-day hospital waiting room thoughts with his memories that told the actual story of his life with Rosario--but the lack of break between them sometimes made the narration confusing and forced me to go back and reread the transition or lack thereof so I was certain I had entered a new timeframe. This is jarring and disruptive in any book and detracts from the ideal immersive reading experience. To its credit, however, it was a short and quick read. I wish I knew Spanish, because I would be very inclined to read the novel in its native language. Alternatively, I would also be interested in reading it translated by a different translator, because I am sure this would also affect the interpretation. What a fascinating job that would be!
Rosario Tijeras : Una Novela
One of the fellow Colombians to whom "Gabo" wished to "pass the torch" was Jorge Franco, in his forties, whose anguished narco-realism is an age away from the butterflies of rural Macondo. Franco is part of a Latin American new wave dubbed the McOndo realists, in a nod to a magic-realist genre superseded by the urban ubiquity of McDonald's, Macintoshes and condos. Narco-dollars encroached by stealth in the big buildings and luxury cars of the s, until drug lord Pablo Escobar took open control of the city through terror and kidnappings. In the novel this transformation is seen through the eyes of Antonio, a middle-class youth in hopeless love with the eponymous Rosario, a cinnamon-skinned girl-woman who earned her alias, Tijeras "scissors" , by castrating the man who raped her at Rosario is the most literal of femmes fatales, a hit woman hired by the Cartel to "tuck in" cops or meddlesome politicians, but who is paid back in her own coin, "shot at point-blank range while she was being kissed".