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Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of El olvido que seremos. When I reached the point of the book where Hector Abad describes the murder of his father also Hector Abad I was reading in a pub. I put the book down and looked up, tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. The few people scattered around paid no attention to me, continued on with their conversations, were oblivious to what had just happened in front of me.

I re-read the following pages over and over again, not taking anything in. I pictured Hector Abad standing up and walking away from his computer or pen and paper, gathering himself together, trudging back to add a few more lines before walking away again. When he was younger he seems to have tried to live up to impossible expectations that thought his father had for him. The inexplicable desire for the big red book of sports rules was to me a natural aspect of childhood, those fierce desires from who knows where, but Abad thinks only of how he let his father down.

The memoir has moments of wry humour, particularly where religion is involved, his rejection of the backwards Catholicism of his region of Colombia, fostered by his more progressive father, while at the same time he acknowledges the impact it has on the family through his mother.

The horrific collapse into brutal violence in Medellin, as well as Colombia as a whole is a shadow that expands over the pages, culminating in a senseless and tragic ending for a man who spent his life working to help people less fortunate than himself, supported by his incredible wife, who built up a business to allow him to do what he wanted without worrying about supporting the family. They idolised each other and this book is an intimate and poignant portrait of a family, a relationship and above all a father whose dedication to others did not detract from his devotion to his family and his son.

View 1 comment. Every once and awhile you get to read a biography that was written with such empathy, resonance and beauty, that after finishing the book, you close the cover and say "wow, that was a delight".

This is a sad tale, a story about the love a child for his father, and that father is murdered for his political views. Medellin, Colombia in the s had degenerated into a very violent place. The state backed militias were trying to eradicate the "lleftist communists" with such a fury that they even re Every once and awhile you get to read a biography that was written with such empathy, resonance and beauty, that after finishing the book, you close the cover and say "wow, that was a delight".

The state backed militias were trying to eradicate the "lleftist communists" with such a fury that they even read their names on the radio before they were murdered. This included Dr. Abad Gomez. Sadly he was challenged and forced to leave the country to work for other aide agencies for his beliefs.

But he returns to find work at the university even though its a rocky road. Upon his forced retirement from the university he started a human rights group advocating for peace. Every day people went missing and this brought him closer to death. Following his father's advice, he refused seeking vengeance and instead chronicles his father's life.

He wasn't a saint but he always sought to see the humanity in every person. He chronicles his sister's Marta's death at age 17, pointing out how the "happy family" changed forever and his parents threw themselves into work and raising the other children.

Abad Faciolince was under his father's spell for most of his life and with his death, his life changed as well, fleeing the country and beginning his life as a writer. But the memory drew him back to write this haunting tale that had me turning pages. When his sister and father died, I was choked up. But it was his reflections on fate, life and love that really makes this book. Quoting Antonio Machado, that in the final hours of war, "the men of peace are remembered, never the people who wanted the war".

Even in our troubled times, this book becomes a call for peace. Read in Spanish. This is an extremely difficult book for me to review. Oblivion is an impassioned memorial to the author's father, Dr. Hector Abad Gomez, who was assassinated by Colombian paramilitaries in response to his leftist, humanist writings. The writing is incredible, making the horror of those years of violence and death squads immediate and wrenching.

The author idolized his father and I found the first two thirds of the book tiresome because of the constant drumbeat of how perfect his father was.

O Wow. On page , he writes "I don't want to write hagiography" but by then I felt it was more than a little late! A more balanced picture of his father would have been more appealing -- Dr. Gomez was a courageous principled man, and the idealized portrait was unnecessary. The author is a pessimist given to depression, and that overwhelming constant despair was at times hard to take.

Speaking of his childhood in a privileged wealthy loving home , he writes of the house "that God had chosen to smite, just like any other house, like all the houses on this Earth, with his fury, with heavy doses of misery, absurd deaths, incurable pains and diseases.

This is how it was with my sister Marta's death, which destroyed my family, maybe forever. But in spite of the excess hagiography, in spite of the almost unrelenting despair, I found the book beautiful, especially the last few chapters. As he writes, "It is possible that all this will be for nought; no word can bring him back to life--the story of his life and his death will not give new breath to his bones, will not bring back his laughter, or his immense courage, or his persuasive and vigorous words--but in any case I need to tell it.

His murderers remain at large; every day they grow in strength, and I cannot fight them with my fists. It is only with my fingers, pressing one key after another, that I can tell the truth and bear witness to the injustice. I use his own weapon: words. What for? For nothing; or for the most simple and essential reason: so it will be known. To extend his memory a little longer, before the inevitable oblivion. I read it steadily throughout the week during my commutes and today I completed it sitting below my block.

When the sadder chapters arrived I found myself tearing up in trains and finally when I got to the final 20 pages I found myself with a pained throat and watery eyes from holding back tears. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for him to have written such a book, to recount such a memory.

That it took 20 years for him to finally pen it down is something that is understandable. Daddy issues. And how would people take his book that is about a good father, a perfect father, a father that he loved so much and in his eyes could barely do any wrong. And in fact I find that his book was such a wonderful read precisely because it provides a model for fatherhood that isn't made toxic by a certain brand of masculinity.

Saying a string of verbal affections that one might find embarrassing. In a society where the expression of direct affection by men is not encouraged, it's wonderful to read an example where the opposite is done.

I truly enjoyed the bits where Hector talked about the way his father dealt with the challenges and the confusions of his son; his open-mindedness, his unconditional love.

Hector wrote it as a way of stretching out the memory of his father a little bit more, before it is inevitably casted into the oblivion of forgetting, the way we forget about so many people. I'm sure that will happen, but I am so glad that I have known of his father in my own little way too.

This book about the intense love, the affection, the silence carried by the father-son relationship is extremely moving. This is definately on my list of favourite books. A must read. Catching up with books I read a couple of months ago, I'm way behind. This is one of the ones I said I would read more in the contemporary Latin-American literature.


Héctor Abad Faciolince – El Olvido Que Seremos

His strong belief that health was a social and political issue was his justification for taking students to some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city. He wanted them to see in the flesh rather than in textbooks the very real consequences of poor nutrition, lack of vaccinations and polluted water. Navigating this rocky middle-ground route in a highly polarized Colombian context populated by left-wing guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitaries was undoubtedly of great intellectual courage. His life-long struggle for social justice through the design of preventive health policies eventually grew into public denunciations of the right-wing government for their constant violation of human rights during the s.


Olvido Seremos by Hector Abad Faciolince

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