Colombian writer Laura Restrepo and her obsession with the myth of Saba in “Song of former lovers”

The novel
The novel “Song of former lovers” written by Laura Restrepo

As part of the activities of the International University Book Fair (WIRE 2022 ) held in Veracruz, Mexico, se presented the text of the writer Laura Restrepo, “Song of Former Lovers”, a book that presents the story of a young writer who embarks on his quest around the world with a growing obsession with the mythical queen of shebaa work of fiction that the author wrote during her journey with the organization Doctors Without Borders, through the territories of Yemen, Ethiopia and the border Somali.

the fantasy novel “Song of Former Lovers” is a contemporary love story about a relationship on the brink of collapse, but also about the obsession of Mutas buseswith the queen of sheba; the young man decides to embark on a journey in the style of Solomon either Thomas Aquinas; this despite the fact that the figure of the queen is inaccessible due to the young man’s earthly origin. During his journey he meets a Somali midwife named Zahra Baidaan important character in the plot.

Restrepo ventures to narrate the events in an atmosphere in which real time runs parallel to the times of the myth. The narrative resources of the Colombian writer contribute to the story an imaginary and magical geography about what she once painted as the kingdom, occupied by the empire of Saba. turning the pages “Song of Former Lovers” it becomes a gateway to worlds permeated by profane rhythms, cruelty, solidarity and healing.

Restrepo presents a complex worldview of the African continent and the Middle Eastin which she rescues the figures of migrant women who, despite adversity, remain standing and learn to look further, managing to cross the borders of time and space. During the book launch Laura Restrepo He related that from fiction he seeks to present the realities he saw and observed, from the transformation of journalistic chronicles to the mythical world and to a plane more attached to reality.

“Song of Former Lovers”
[”Canción de antiguos amantes” puede comprarse, en su versión digital, en clickeando acá]

“The origin of this novel has to do with my closeness to Doctors without borders in places mired in humanitarian crises, places to which the world has turned its back. The story emerges from a series of reports by Yemen, Somalia Y Ethiopiaterritories hit by famine, bombing and drought. But that they are also the biblical places occupied by the Kingdom of Saba where they take place “Arabian Nights”stories in which I found inspiration”, declared Laura Restrepo during his participation in the WIRE 2022.

The author shared that the novel took her seven years to write; she at first she planned it under the title of “Kiss Me a lot”Inspired by the song and modern poems of Gerard de Nervalwriter who was obsessed with queen of sheba and unattainable female figures, which spoke of the queen kissthat falls in love and kills; Restrepo he took this and combined it with his travels with the medical organization; He related that during his passage through the Horn of Africa he witnessed the migration of thousands of women and children, in the face of the wars that absorb the patriarchs of these families, women who, despite being in unfavorable situations, did not lose their pride in be blood descendants of Saba

It was the conjunction of harsh reality and myth that inspired Laura Restrepo, who turned the figure of the queen into the character of a wandering woman, far from the paraphernalia of royalty. The author commented that her obsession with her theme led her to investigate composers, poets, political figures related to the main theme of “Song of Former Lovers”; The Colombian writer was nourished by fantasy stories, myths and raw situations from that side of the world, while seeking to vindicate the figure of man as an ally of feminism, through its main character Mutas busesin this story that shows that the coexistence of two worlds is possible.


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