Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend, Daniel, who has been interned in a psychiatric ward for murdering his fiancée. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess the truth behind the crime, Gustavo’s long buried fraternal loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic investigation.
While Daniel reveals his unsettling story using fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past for clues: 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 a book collector. As the circumstances grow increasingly intricate, Gustavo is forced to deduce an sinister series of events from allegories that are more real than police reports and metaphors more revealing than evidence.
With sumptuous prose and haunting imagery, Faverón Patriau has crafted an unforgettable, labyrinthine tale of murder, madness, and passion that is as entertaining as it is erudite and dark as it is illuminating.
“Delightfully macabre. . . . A novel in which storytelling can prove redemptive, but it can also kill. . . . The Antiquarian is steeped in alienation, shame, mourning and disgust. It is intelligently conceived and well executed. Rather than serve up a tantalizing mystery with a tidy resolution, this book does the opposite, demolishing the ‘facts’ and assumptions amassed along the way. It has hundreds of intricate pieces. Once you finish reading, you may feel compelled to take it apart, figure out how it works and begin again.” —Carmela Ciuraru, New York Times
“An ambitious, complex novel . . . Those who read by simultaneously working with the writer, fantasizing alongside him, capable of enjoying the subtleties and secrets of a text as rich and profound as the text of this novel, will never forget it.” —Mario Vargas Llosa
“Unbelievably well-written. . . . My copy of The Antiquarian is already worn out like an old, favorite paperback, and it features more margin marks and underlines than any other 2014 book I read. . . . [It is] tirelessly brilliant.” —Gabe Habash, Publishers Weekly (A Best Book of the Year)
“An inexplicable murder, a logorrheic mental patient, and a macabre black market are wrapped in layers of mystery and revealed in multiple interlocking narratives. It’s an elegant meditation on storytelling (and a real page-turner).” —Susan Harris, Words Without Borders
“Absorbing . . . a pitch-black literary thriller that locates the thin line that separates love and horror.” —Wayne Roylance, New York Public Library (10 Summer Reads)
“[The Antiquarian] possesses much of the unease and horror characteristic of Bolaño’s work . . . beautiful and beguiling. . . . This perfect blend of page-turning narrative and knockout prose is as good as it gets—Patriau’s book is pure pitch-black fun.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A masterful debut in which a Peruvian literary critic and scholar crafts a metamystery that explores identity, deceit, guilt and narrative. . . . Rarely does a literary mystery work on as many levels as this.” —Kirkus Reviews(starred review)
“At once heartbreaking and redemptive . . . [The Antiquarian] illuminates a deep interconnection between horror and love.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Gustavo Faverón Patriau has written a dark, cruel and thrilling gem of a novel. There are shades of Borges fabulism here, and Calvino’s Invisible Cities, but something more mysterious too, something gothic, something macabre. The Antiquarian is a novel about literature, war, madness and friendship, a startling read from the first sentence to the last.” —Daniel Alarcón, author of Lost City Radio and At Night We Walk in Circles
“A splendid neo-gothic tale. . . . It’s the kind of read that alters your experience of reading.” —Dennis Haritou, Three Guys One Book
“For fans of Latin American writers like Borges and Bolaño, or anyone fascinated by the utterly creepy.” —Bustle (A Best Book of the Year)
“Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s The Antiquarian is a dazzling and unforgettable meditation on deception, obsession, and the search for truth. How rare it is to find a novel of ideas that never fails to entertain. How rare it is to find a novel that marries intelligent, intricate plotting with richly rewarding prose. I was privileged to find such a novel in THE ANTIQUARIAN, and once I had fallen headlong into Gustavo Faverón Patriau’s mysterious and mythic creation, I couldn’t bear to leave it.” —Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth
“A genre-blending novel, a complete immersion that delves into a lesser-used niche of genre: horror, gothic, the weird. . . . Plot and mystery do drive the book, but the intricate prose makes it so that even when you know what is about to be revealed, you want to see the tricks of language that get us there. . . . The Antiquarian encourages the thrill of reading, forcing you to move quicker and quicker, unsure if you are escaping or falling into a trap, as the end nears.” —Three Percent