The Secret History Of Costaguana : In the early twentieth century, a struggling Joseph Conrad wrote his great novel Nostromo, about a South American republic he named Costaguana. It was inspired by the geography and history of Colombia, where Conrad spent only a few days. But in Juan Gabriel Vasquez's novel The Secret History of Costaguana, we uncover the hidden source - and one of the great literary thefts. On the day of Joseph Conrad's death in 1924, the Colombian-born Jose Altamirano begins to write and cannot stop. Many years before, he confessed to Conrad his life's every delicious detail - from his country's heroic revolutions to his darkest solitary moments. Conrad stole them all. Now Conrad is dead, but the slate is by no means clear - Nostromo will live on and Altamirano must write himself back into existence. As the destinies of real empires collide with the murky realities of imagined ones, Vasquez takes us from a flourishing twentieth-century London to the lawless fury of a blooming Panama and back. Tragic and despairing, comic and insightful, The Secret History of Costaguana is a masterpiece of historical invention. It will secure Juan Gabriel Vasquez's place among the most original and exuberantly talented novelists working today.