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WINNER OF THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2009 In a small town in the mountains of Colombia, Ismael, a retired teacher, spends his mornings gathering oranges in the sunshine and spying on his neighbour as she sunbathes naked in her garden. Returning from a walk one morning he discovers that his wife has disappeared. Then more people go missing, and not-so-distant gunfire signals the approach of war. Most of the villagers make their escape, but Ismael cannot leave without his Otilia. He becomes an unwilling witness to the senseless civil war that sweeps through his country with a tragic inevitability. In The Armies Rosero has created a hallucinatory, relentless, captivating narrative often as violent as the events it describes, told by an old man battered by a reality he no longer recognizes.
Evelio Rosero studied Social Communication in the Externado University of Colombia. In 2006 he was awarded the Tusquets National Prize for Literature in Colombia for his novel The Armies, which was also the winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.