Penguin Random House, 2016 | Decline


Arabic world / Almada




One of the five shortlisted novels for the National Novel Prize 2018, convened by the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, to recognize the excellence of the country's literary production. This prize has established as the most important distinction in Colombia for published works.


«Undoubtedly, one of this year’s finest novels. The image of a city that shows no mercy, unrelenting and cruel, is one of the novel’s great achievements, a portrait of Bogota that transports the reader elsewhere, to Kafka perhaps, describing the ordeals of Joseph K, or to Rulfo in search of Susana San Juan.» Santiago Gamboa, El País

«A parable on Colombia’s middle-classes with occasional flights into the absurd. A modern-day metamorphosis.» Laura Juliana Muñoz, El espectador

«With all of the weight of a Bogota imbued with angst and solitude, the author steers Jorge, his lead character, through his humdrum existence. In the form of simple conversations and scenes, Declive portrays the straightforward dramas of the middle-class office worker.» Juan José Toro, Vice


(Decline) Another day. It’s five p.m. and the alarm clock comes to life. Jorge has no time to waste: his shift at the call centre begins at six and, aside from getting ready, he must make his way to Transmilenio station and catch a bus, always an unpredictable undertaking. So he shakes off his slumbers, bathes, gets dressed, but just as he is about to finish something unexpected occurs: his shoe doesn’t fit. He tries the other one on, the outcome is the same. He looks at his shoes, then his feet, and is baffled: the shoes are the ones he was wearing before his siesta and his feet don’t look swollen. Puzzled and now in something of a hurry, he grabs another pair but to no avail: they don’t fit. His feet, so it would seem, have grown. With no time for further attempts, Jorge dashes out with his shoes hanging half off and, unsettled and brooding, breaks into a sprint to the bus station. He has no way of knowing that this minor, puzzling anomaly is the first symptom of his decay#