It has been an incredibly long time since I posted to this blog. My apologies to any remaining followers who may have presumed my untimely death. It has also been quite a while since I completed reading La Vida de la Muerte by Colombian author Paulina Plazas. It took me some time to get through the reading of it because Spanish is my third language for one, but also, let’s face it, life happens and I’ve been caught in the thick of it.
I enjoyed La Vida de la Muerte in its entirety. The story focuses on the lives of two romantically involved teenagers, struggling to find a meaning to life against the backdrop of death in their war-torn Colombia. The lovers tale reflects the internal strife that has gripped Colombia for decades. Though much progress has been made in ending the armed conflict, it is commonplace that many families have in some way been beset with tragedy as a result of the fighting. One of the more poignant things, to me as a reader, is seeing how inextricably bound to the struggle the lives of the everyday people are marred by the conflict. No one is unaffected.
While not Romeo and Juliet in the sense that the young lovers are not “star-crossed”, the duo face a different sort of barrier to happiness. What is the meaning of love in a life not worth living? Oblivion seems a welcome haven for the couple, and indeed is a favorite topic for them even before the fall. Afterward, the transformation the two lovers undergo brings them full circle. La Vida de la Muerte is as much a philosophical riddle as it is a sociopolitical commentary. Plazas expertly crafts both story line and characters in this contemporary work of historical fiction. She is a voice of stark sobriety in the cacophony of chaos and life wrought from a land once and still mired in conflict.