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<DIV><b>A bold historical novel from "one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature" (Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature). </b><br><br> In the early twentieth century, a struggling Joseph Conrad wrote his great novel <i>Nostromo,</i> about a South American republic he named Costaguana. It was inspired by the geography and history of Colombia, where Conrad spent only a few days. But in Juan Gabriel Vásquez's novel <i>The Secret History of Costaguana,</i> we uncover the hidden source- and one of the great literary thefts.<br><br> On the day of Joseph Conrad's death in 1924, the Colombian-born José Altamirano begins to write and cannot stop. Many years before, he confessed to Conrad his life's every delicious detail-from his country's heroic revolutions to his darkest solitary moments. Conrad stole them all. Now Conrad is dead, but the slate is by no means clear- Nostromo will live on and Altamirano must write himself back into existence. As the destinies of real empires collide with the murky realities of imagined ones, Vásquez takes us from a flourishing twentieth-century London to the lawless fury of a blooming Panama and back.<br><br> Tragic and despairing, comic and insightful, <i>The Secret History of Costaguana</i> is a masterpiece of historical invention. It will secure Juan Gabriel Vásquez's place among the most original and exuberantly talented novelists working today.<br><br></div>