Juan Gabriel Vásquez wins 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award


Juan Gabriel Vasquez in Miami in 2009. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)


Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez has won the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for The Sound of Things Falling, which was translated from Spanish by Canadian Anne McLean.

The €100,000 prize ($147,000 CAD), presented by the Dublin City Council, is the world's largest literary prize for a novel published in English.

"The Sound of Things Falling is a consummate literary thriller that resonates long after the final page," the jury citation read. "Through a masterly command of layered time periods, spiralling mysteries and a noir palette, it reveals how intimate lives are overshadowed by history; how the past preys on the present; and how the fate of individuals as well as countries is moulded by distant, or covert, events." 

Vásquez was on Writers and Company in 2012. Listen to his conversation with Eleanor Wachtel:

media clip


Memorable quotes from The Sound of Things Falling:

"Her face was like a party that everyone had left."

"Adulthood brings with it the pernicious illusion of control, perhaps even depends on it. I mean that mirage of dominion over our own life that allows us to feel like adults, for we associate maturity with autonomy, the sovereign right to determine what is going to happen to us next."

"There is no more disastrous mania, no more dangerous whim, than the speculation over roads not taken."

"They talked of intentions and projects, convinced, as only new lovers can be, that saying what you wanted was the same as saying who you are."

"Now that so many years have passed, now that I remember with the benefit of an understanding I didn't then have, I think of that conversation and it seems implausible that its importance didn't hit me in the face. (And I tell myself at the same time that we're terrible judges of the present moment, maybe because the present doesn't actually exist: all is memory, this sentence that I just wrote is already a memory, this word is a memory that you, reader, just read)."