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Publisher's Summary

A TIME BEST BOOK OF THE SUMMER 

From the author of the “original, politically daring and passionately written” (Vogue) novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree, comes a dazzling, kaleidoscopic memoir reclaiming her family's otherworldly legacy.

For Ingrid Rojas Contreras, magic runs in the family. Raised amid the political violence of 1980s and '90s Colombia, in a house bustling with her mother’s fortune-telling clients, she was a hard child to surprise. Her maternal grandfather, Nono, was a renowned curandero, a community healer gifted with what the family called “the secrets”: the power to talk to the dead, tell the future, treat the sick, and move the clouds. And as the first woman to inherit “the secrets,” Rojas Contreras’ mother was just as powerful. Mami delighted in her ability to appear in two places at once, and she could cast out even the most persistent spirits with nothing more than a glass of water.

This legacy had always felt like it belonged to her mother and grandfather, until, while living in the U.S. in her twenties, Rojas Contreras suffered a head injury that left her with amnesia. As she regained partial memory, her family was excited to tell her that this had happened before: Decades ago Mami had taken a fall that left her with amnesia, too. And when she recovered, she had gained access to “the secrets.”

In 2012, spurred by a shared dream among Mami and her sisters, and her own powerful urge to relearn her family history in the aftermath of her memory loss, Rojas Contreras joins her mother on a journey to Colombia to disinter Nono’s remains. With Mami as her unpredictable, stubborn, and often hilarious guide, Rojas Contreras traces her lineage back to her Indigenous and Spanish roots, uncovering the violent and rigid colonial narrative that would eventually break her mestizo family into two camps: those who believe “the secrets” are a gift, and those who are convinced they are a curse.

Interweaving family stories more enchanting than those in any novel, resurrected Colombian history, and her own deeply personal reckonings with the bounds of reality, Rojas Contreras writes her way through the incomprehensible and into her inheritance. The result is a luminous testament to the power of storytelling as a healing art and an invitation to embrace the extraordinary.

*Includes a downloadable PDF of the author’s personal photographs of family members, scenes, and mementos, from the printed book

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Ingrid Rojas Contreras (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

 A Most Anticipated Book of the Year: TODAY, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, LitHub, Parade, BookRiot, Electric Lit, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune, SheReads, and more 

“Rojas Contreras reacquaints herself with her family’s past, weaving their stories with personal narrative, unraveling legacies of violence, machismo and colonialism…In the process, she has written a spellbinding and genre-defying ancestral history.”New York Times Book Review 

"Striking...Beautifully written and layered, an empowering act of recovery and self-discovery.\"San Francisco Chronicle 

"The Man Who Could Move Clouds is a memoir like no other, mapping memory, myth, and the mysteries and magic of ancestry with stark tenderness and beauty. A dreamlike and literal excavation of the powers of inheritance, Ingrid Rojas Contreras has given us a glorious gift with these pages."—Patricia Engel, author of Infinite Country
 

Artículo destacado: Grandes joyas de la literatura latinoamericana


Latinoamérica ha regalado al mundo a algunos de los mejores escritores de todos los tiempos. Cinco premios Nobel de Literatura y nombres como Juan Rulfo, Alejo Carpentier, Isabel Allende, Rómulo Gallegos o Jorge Luis Borges respaldan su prestigio. Confiamos en que esta selección puede acercarte a lo mejor de las letras de la región y dejarte con ganas de conocer más de la literatura que se produce en este rincón del mundo.

What listeners say about The Man Who Could Move Clouds

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Enjoyable and challenging adventure

The author touches on so many weighty and important topics about colonialism and racism and privilege. Interwoven through an entertaining sharing of her life experiences. I love the way she introduced ideas such as who decides what is what. Magical realism is a literary voice or a lived experience. The author also brings in some of the true horrors of the strife that went on in Columbia for so many years. Touching on the damage that is perpetuated for individuals and families from extreme violence and fear of violence. while her descriptions are vivid and evoke a small sense of what it might be like to live in that situation they don’t overwhelm the story or the book. She also explores the immigrant experience and straddling worlds and code switching. her exploration of this is deepend by also exploring straddling the worlds of realism and ghosts and magic as well as memory and amnesia.
This is a great read or listen for those who enjoy getting lost in the story and also being encouraged to think deeply from different perspectives about very challenging topics and ideas.

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meh

Found the story hard to follow and all over the place. I appreciate the history and insight to the culture but would not read again.