By Nora Vasconcelos
Tony Cleaver has traveled around the world spending his time abroad teaching, discovering new roads around the mountains and writing. After living in the UK, Singapore, the Netherlands and Chile, it was Colombia which enchanted him so much that took him back to live there and to write a novel that explores what life is like in the different urban and rural areas of this South American country.
Published by Book Guild Publishing, “El Mono” tells the story of different characters, and show how their lives change through time as they interact in different situations.
While getting to know each other, their friendships get more solid, and are these bonds that help them go through the rough moments, both when their paths take unexpected turns and when things in the country get difficult.
But it’s one mysterious figure which influences their lives the most. “El Mono” appears in the city once in a while to help and protect Juan Sebastian, who’s gone blind while working in the gold mines and who has found a way to earn a living by selling pottery pieces at the Popayan market. “El Mono” has also captivated the curiosity of young Karin Roth, an exchange student who has come to Colombia all the way from England.
This intriguing character is a mountain man who speaks English and Spanish, as well as the secret language of nature, so that, animals feel comfortable with him the same as he feels at home surrounded by the sheer lands of the Colombian ladscapes.
But things get complicated when the corporate life intersects the expectations of Karin and her friend Claudia, and the ones of Juan Sebastian and his friend Hugo. Then, everything changes, and the challenges grow page after page as the story develops, bringing to live the streets of the Colombian cities, as well as the paths of its countryside.
Things could be more complicated, but “El Mono” is there to fight for what he feels is fair. And to help the readers to go through the difficult passages, Tony Cleaver presents in his writing an extraordinary easiness which shows that the complexity attached to this country -which story goes back to the XVI century- has not affected or changed the magic of the Colombian culture and its natural scenery.