Book Review: Our Lady of the Assassins

How a novel less than 150 pages long can pack so many feelings!

Our Lady of the Assassins (La Virgen de los sicarios) is the fictionalized (yet still autobiographical fiction) return of Colombian-Mexican author, Fernando Vallejo to his native Medellin, where he starts a (sexual) relationship with two teenage paid assassins. Though published in 2005, it takes place immediately following the death of narco superstar Pablo Escobar and his reign of terror.

What really gripped me about novel is the language; raw, real, angry, sarcastic, mean and offensive. It’s classist and pessimistic, and yet… it reflects that frustration of living in an unfair corrupt world that makes no sense. A world where, like we say in Spanish, you screw [people over] or get screwed over yourself. Imagine a world inhabited only by Donald Trumps, sexist, selfish and abusive. Bullies. Proud fraudsters who believe themselves above the law. These are the characters roaming the streets of Medellin in this novel. And under all that hate and apathy and selfishness, Fernando finds love while waiting for death to take him away.

It is the first Latin-American novel written in Spanish I’ve ever read centering only gay characters, and I truly loved it. Though the author and I may have very different opinions about poverty, inequality and morality, it was truly one of my favorite books this year.

CW: murder, violence, abuse of minors, offensive language, classism. Religious people may find its portrayal of God offensive as well

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