Book Review: The Antiquarian by Gustavo Faveron Patriau


The Antiquarian is Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s masterfully conceived, engrossing story of murder, madness, and passion that is set against the landscape of an unnamed South American country ravaged by political violence and corruption.

Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend Daniel, who has been interned in a psychiatric hospital for murdering his fiancée. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess the truth of what really happened, Gustavo’s long-buried loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic, unconventional investigation. As Daniel reveals his account through fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past: from their early college days exploring dust-filled libraries and exotic brothels; to Daniel’s intimate attachment to his sickly younger sister and his dealings as an antiquarian book collector at the Biblio Path. As the clues grow more macabre and more intricate with every turn, an increasingly skeptical Gustavo is forced to deduce a complex series of events from allegories that are more real than police reports, and metaphors more revealing than evidence.

Received in ebook format from and read on an ipad using kindle software.

I started so well, and after getting into the rhythm of the way the book was written (including near stream of consciousness discourses, paragraphs that last over a page, timelines and narrators chopping and changing), I got about half way through and then simply didnt have the energy  to go any further.

So: I think my failure to complete this book is entirely laid at my door. For once I can appreciate the translation (I usually hate books translated into English), I can appreciate that there is a certain lyrical beauty of the story, it just required so much time, effort and concentration at a time that I couldn’t afford it – Perhaps choosing to read this in the run up to Christmas was not the right time to choose!



3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Antiquarian by Gustavo Faveron Patriau

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