The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

The Informers

Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Set in Colombia, this is the story of the everyday lives of German refugees who emigrated in the late 1930s and their subsequent integration (or not). The themes of betrayal and reconciliation are central - that troubled history doesn't make for an easy read. But this is so worth reading for the suspense and a dialogue which crackles with tension.

'None of you have felt that terrible power, the power to finish someone off.

I've always wanted to know what it felt like. Back then we all had that power, but we didn't all know that we had it. Only some used it. There were thousands, of course: thousands of people who accused, who denounced, who informed. But those thousands of informers were just a part, a tiny fraction of the people who could have informed if they'd wanted to. How do I know? I know because the system of blacklists gave power to the weak, and the weak are the majority. That was life during those years: a dictatorship of weakness. The dictatorship of resentment, or, at least, of resentment according to Nietzsche: the hatred the naturally weak feel for the naturally strong.'
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