22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Jorge Franco

Jorge Franco was born in Medellín, Colombia in 1962. He studied film directing at the International Film School in London and literature at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. Following his first two – both award-winning – publications, the short story collection »Maldito Amor« (1996; t: Cursed love) and the novel »Mala noche« (1997; t: Bad night), he achieved international recognition with the novel »Rosario Tijeras« (1999; Eng. 2004). The tale of the protagonist Rosario, a young contract killer, unfolds against a backdrop of violence and drug dealing in 1980s Medellín, and is narrated by her confidant and secret admirer who reconstructs important moments in her painful past through a series of successive flashbacks while he waits in the corridors of a hospital where his friend lies seriously wounded, victim of a gunshot.

With his representations of urban conflict Franco numbers among the »McOndo« generation of Latin American writers. The concept – which through its word play on García Márquez’s fictitious town Macondo ex presse s a certain distancing from Magical Realism – stands for a new urban realism which tackles themes such as criminality, poverty and sexuality. Franco’s particular interests are social grievances and the human misery they provoke: »Art must awaken from a stupor.«

His second novel, »Paraíso Travel« (2001; Eng. »Paradise Travel«, 2006), depicts the young Colombian couple Reina and Marlon, who want to start a new life together in the USA with the help of the dubious travel agency Paradise Travel. Shortly after their arrival in New York, however, Marlon gets lost in the metropolitan labyrinth. He comes to know the other side of the American dream during his desperate search for Reina: the rootlessness, loneliness and fear that mark the lives of so many immigrants in the USA. Franco’s affinity for film and television is apparent in his nonlinear narrative. With the aid of cinematic techniques such as flashbacks and leaps in time the diverse temporal planes are established on which the skillful construction of his novels is based. Following the successful adaptation of »Rosario Tijeras« – the most-watched film in Colombia in 2005 – »Paraíso Travel« has also been made into a film.

With his most recent novel, which bears the programmatic title »Melodrama« (2006), Franco, in the tradition of the Argentine writer Manuel Puig, turns to the genre which is so enduringly popular in Latin America. He transgresses the boundaries of this genre however by maintaining a genuine literary ambiguity in the characteristically excessive treatment of emotions and intrigue. In this way he hinders any simplified reading of the deftly intertwined stories.

The author was awarded the Colombian literature prize »Pedro Gómez Valderrama« and the Spanish Premio Hammet. García Márquez has said about Franco: »This is one of the Colombian authors I would like to pass the torch to.« He lives in Bogotá.

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