Otra vez Fernando Vallejo: On the virtues of Effective Testimony and Self-Fashioned Marginality in La virgen de los sicarios


  • Sandro R. Barros DePauw University


One of the most controversial novels to appear in the literary context of Latin America at the end ofthe 20th century, Fernando Vallejo's La virgen de los sicarios could be easily perceived as an ambiguous project of (self)representation. The presence of a narrator/protagonist whose name is a homonym of the author's, and who shares with him a substantial number of biographical similarities, problematizes the reception of the novel as an entirely fictional work. Also, Vallejo's fulminating and desacralizing tone does not hinder the authorial intention of reorganizing the present of the Colombian nation from a marginal perspective by demolishing its most sacred institutions, whether these are founded on social, political, or religious traditions. Vallejo's La virgen de los sicarios presents otherness and marginality as a discursive rhetoric that challenges what the Establishment has come to define as the Other. The idiosyncratic self-determinism one encounters in the novel and its revisionist impetus regarding the fate of the nation rely heavily on the characterization of the narrator as an individual whose authority to speak on behalf of Colombia emanates from Vallejo, the writer, and the position he occupies in society.