cover image Oblivion: A Memoir

Oblivion: A Memoir

H%C3%A9ctor Abad, trans. from the Spanish by Anne McLean and Rosalind Harvey. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-374-22397-7

Colombian author Abad (The Joy of Being Awake) dedicates this loving and sentimental memoir to his father, H%C3%A9ctor Abad G%C3%B3mez, a professor and doctor devoted to his family, "moved to tears%E2%80%A6by poetry and music," and committed to a better Colombia. The latter aspiration cost him his life when he was assassinated in 1987, and his son began writing this book five years later. Abad spends much of the book expressing his love for his father, but it is his discussion of G%C3%B3mez's public health and human rights projects%E2%80%94such as founding "the Colombian Institute of Family Wellbeing, which built aqueducts and sewer systems in villages, rural districts, and cities"%E2%80%94that reveals what a remarkable educator, reformer, and activist the senior Abad was, and how his assassination (most likely ordered by Colombia's political leadership at the time) was a tragedy for a family and a nation. Those unfamiliar with Abad's and G%C3%B3mez's writings will nevertheless find this timely memoir moving and informative. (May)