Colombians are often confused by the name Restrepo Leather, since Restrepo is a somewhat common last name here, but it's not ours. When people ask why we called our company Restrepo, we tell them that no one can pronounce or spell Tolochko. We tell them that we couldn't very well call the company La Macarena, the neighborhood where we live, because that's associated with the cheesy dance song from the 1990s. And, of course, we tell them about the leather district in Bogota that inspired the name.
So here we are, Restrepo Leather.
Our name comes with a great legacy. There are a lot of other Restrepos out there, and we want to honor them. This is the beginning of an on-going series at Restrepo Leather to highlight the other Restrepos of the world. We'll start with Laura Restrepo.[caption id="attachment_868" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Photo credit: Alfaguara"][/caption]
A renowned Colombian writer and journalist, Laura was raised in an eccentric household, where education wasn't acquired in classrooms, but rather through constantly moving around the world with her family and her father's piecemeal home schooling. Her novels blur the line between fiction and non-fiction, pulling on her experience as a journalist to create the characters. I'm drawn to the part of Laura's story when she acted as a negotiator in the 1980s between the Colombian government and the M-19, a guerrilla group. Her vocal opposition to the actions of the Colombian government and subsequent death threats caused her to move out of her country for several years.
Though she worked for many years as a journalist, her real love is novels. Translated from this interview:
You know what I'd like? To be able to dedicate ten or twelve years to just one novel, investigate it ad nauseum, correct it until exhaustion, live with the characters through all that time to get to know them for real, become an expert in their motives and their reactions, learn their language inside and out, decipher until the last consequences the relationships between the different personalities. It won't be possible because the art of writing is like everything else: you do it to get by. You'd have to have been born a noble, or a trust-fund baby, to dedicate twelve years of your life to just one novel.
Jerry found her book Delirio at the local flea market a few weeks ago. Perhaps it's time for me to start reading books in Spanish.