Franco Ramos, Jorge 1962-
FRANCO RAMOS, Jorge 1962-
Born 1962, in Medellin, Colombia. Education: Attended London International Film School and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogota, Colombia).
Pedro Gómez Valderrama narrative prize, for Maldito Amor; Ciudad de Pereira novel competition winner, for Mala Noche.
Maldito Amor (stories), Universidad Central (Bogota, Colombia), 1996.
Mala Noche: Novela, Plaza y Janés (Bogota, Columbia), 1997.
Rosario Tijeras, Plaza y Janés (Bogota, Colombia), 1999, translation by Gregory Rabassa published under name Jorge Franco as Rosario Tijeras: A Novel, Seven Stories Press (New York, NY), 2004.
(Under name Jorge Franco) Paraíso travel (novel), Editorial Planeta Colombiana (Bogota, Colombia), 2001, translation published as Paraíso Travel: A Novel, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.
Rosario Tijeras and Paraíso travel have been translated into several languages, incldung French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, and Dutch.
Jorge Franco Ramos, who also writes as Jorge Franco, is an award-winning Colombian author whose second novel, Rosario Tijeras, has been translated and published in English. A Publishers Weekly contributor described the story as an "energetic but awkward combination" of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and "a Quentin Tarantino splatter-fest." The title character, Rosario Tijeras—"tijeras" means scissors—once used a pair of scissors to castrate a man who had raped her. Rosa Julia Bird noted in World Literature Today that "understanding the symbolism of the title is critical if we are not to be disappointed by the simplicity of the story. From the beginning, the title's reference to the rosary and scissors points to the religion/violence dichotomy that has prevailed in the writings of many Latin American authors."
As the story begins, Rosario has been shot point blank and is on her way to the hospital with Antonio, who tells her story in flashbacks. Rosario was born in the Medellin slums, where she was raped at the age of eight. Her brother kills her attacker and becomes involved with the drug cartel, where he and his friends prosper and mingle with the elite classes of Colombian society. Through her brother, Rosario meets Antonio and Emilio, who are fascinated with the lower class of people, particularly the women. Rosario and Emilio become lovers, but Antonio, who also is enchanted by Rosario, remains merely her friend. Rosario also becomes swept up by the cartel as a sexual slave and an assassin in service to the riches of the cocaine trade.
Timothy Peters reviewed the novel for SFGate.com, noting that love for Rosario "is at best a derisive idea; at worst, it is brutally destructive." Peters remarked that "Rosario feels more like an intellectual conceit than a palpable, flesh-and-blood character. She and the novel itself labors under a heavy symbolic load." However, Peters concluded that Franco Ramos "is clearly onto something powerful with his leading lady, who very nearly transcends her symbolic role to become a figure of real interest, a living, breathing contradiction."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
New York Times, April 6, 2003, Juan Forero, "New Generation of Novelists Emerges in Colombia," section A, p. 3.
Publishers Weekly, January 19, 2004, review of Rosario Tijeras, p. 54.
World Literature Today, summer-autumn, 2001, Rosa Julia Bird, review of Rosario Tijeras, p. 219.
Jorge Franco Ramos Home Page, http://www.jorgefranco.com (August 11, 2004).
SFGate.com,http://www.sfgate.com/ (August 11, 2004), Timothy Peters, review of Rosario Tijeras.