Erotica, Marginalia, and the Ideology of Class Voyeurism in

Rosario Tijeras by Jorge Franco


Xochitl E. Shuru

Ursinus College


With one glance at Jorge Franco’s novel Rosario Tijeras, the association of violence with eroticism is immediately apparent. The novel’s cover includes the title in ruby-red block letters enclosed by a hand-drawn shape of a heart. Piercing the heart from above is the metallic photographic image of a revolver, the barrel of which points downward toward the center of the cover.(1) The promotional materials for the novel’s film adaptation are even less subtle. The poster for the film features the Colombian actress Flora Martínez, who plays the character of Rosario, posing scantily dressed, lips slightly parted, and juxtaposed with the same menacing handgun.(2) It would be easy to conclude that this combination of sex and violence, whether in print or on screen, is yet another example of a familiar hackneyed formula that glosses over the complex social problems of poverty and inequality while reducing human intimacy and sexuality to a few voyeuristic sex scenes. Leaving aside an analysis of its filmic counterpart, Rosario Tijeras the novel is regarded by many as a serious piece of fiction that takes a close look at the effects of violence on Colombian society within the context of a romantic relationship. For example, one reviewer writes that the novel is "a short, vibrant, clear metaphor of Colombia’s present situation" (Bird 219). Another response to the novel praises Franco’s "pluma ágil" and his "habilidad literaria capaz de trazar los perfiles y el entorno en el que se mueven sus personajes" (Vélez Sierra 2). In this essay, I will show that the relationship between violence and eroticism is enhanced by a third element of marginalia, which I define here as the stuff and stimuli of poverty, drug addiction, criminal activity, and violence. Synchronized within the erotic program of the novel, this element of marginalia speaks to the larger social environment that conditions the overall reception of Franco’s novel and hints at a problematic ideological characteristic of the text.

Rosario Tijeras takes place against the backdrop of Medellín at the peak of drug related violence during the 1990s. In a hospital waiting room, the novel’s narrator Antonio reflects on his relationship with Rosario after she is found riddled with bullets and rushed into surgery. We learn that Rosario is the product of the sprawling, squalid hillside neighborhoods—comunas—of Medellín. The escalation in Colombia’s "drug war" during the 1980s and 90s fostered the formation within the comunas of so-called combos, gangs of assassins or sicarios who contracted their services to members of organized crime. Out of the morass of poverty, drug use, and violence emerges Rosario Tijeras, whose combination of brutality and voluptuousness reaches legendary heights well before her eighteenth birthday. As both Antonio’s best friend and Rosario’s lover, Emilio represents the third character in a tripartite relationship in which Antonio is often placed in the awkward role of mediator and confidant. Antonio’s account quickly becomes the story of a cautious, reticent youth who is incapable of divulging his love for Rosario.

The female sicario invites an obvious interpretation of Franco’s novel based on the inverted role of the woman as the taker of life. One could extend this interpretation to speak of the perverse effects that decades of violence have had on Colombian society. Objections to patriarchal assumptions of biology and the social role of women notwithstanding, some might even allege that the events portrayed in the novel point to an escalation in violence visited upon Colombia that has all but extinguished the nurturing, maternal instincts of women, thus further evidence of an overall process of desensitization and dehumanization in light of ongoing civil unrest.(3) In my view, a reading that invests heavily in the inversion of the traditional female role unnecessarily reduces the analysis of Rosario’s multifaceted character to a singular aspect of gender. It also relies on the cultural context of a bygone era in which traditional was synonymous with normative. In contemporary Colombia, it is unlikely that readers would involuntarily perceive non-traditional behavior within the realm of the symbolic simply because it runs counter to the biological aspect of reproduction. Furthermore, given the fact that Colombian society is saturated with images of carnage from the latest bomb blast or shootout, the notion that a female killer possesses the kind of affective charge that would enhance a reader’s appreciation for the detrimental effects of violence is dubious. Instead, I believe a more persuasive explanation for Rosario’s character focuses on the basis of her sexual appeal to the principal male characters within a context of violence and class consciousness.

The proximity of eroticism to violence is explicitly shown from the outset of the novel. Our introduction to the character of Rosario consists of her immediate condition as a hospital patient and victim of multiple gunshots at point-blank range. The circumstances of the attack make Rosario’s body the simultaneous site of violence and sexuality: "Como a Rosario le pegaron un tiro a quemarropa mientras le daban un beso, confundió el dolor del amor con el de la muerte. Pero salió de dudas cuando despegó los labios y vio la pistola" (5). We soon discover that Rosario had used the same technique in which eventual victims are placed in an unsuspecting, defenseless position through sexual seduction:

El Patico no entendió la actitud de Rosario, pero para resarcirse le obedeció. A medida que la lamía por las mejillas por la nariz y por los parpados, iba dejando un camino húmedo entre el polvo blanco. Después, como ella se lo había ordenado, llegó a la boca, sacó la lengua y le pasó el sabor amargo a Rosario; ella mientras tanto había sacado el fierro de su cartera, se lo puso a él en la barriga, y cuando se le hubo chupado toda la lengua, disparó. (36)

The white dust to which the narrative refers is cocaine, which El Patico had insultingly blown in the face of Rosario as a way of showing his disgust with her romantic involvement with Emilio.

Statements of Rosario’s physical attractiveness that limit themselves to a strictly corporeal nature, such as the following, are actually rare in the novel: "Su cuerpo nos engañaba, creíamos que se podían encontrar en él las delicias de lo placentero, a eso invitaba su figura canela, daban ganas de probarla, de sentir la ternura de su piel limpia, siempre daban ganas de meterse dentro de Rosario" (9). More common, however, are physical descriptions of Rosario in which aspects of social class and race are incorporated into Antonio’s retrospective gaze:

Yo no vi nada, sólo su dedo estirado hacia la parte más alta de la montaña, adornado con un anillo que nunca imaginó que tendría, y su brazo mestizo y su olor a Rosario. Sus hombros descubiertos como casi siempre, sus camisetas diminutas y sus senos tan erguidos como el dedo que señalaba. (6)

The dissected parts of Rosario’s body become metonymic representations of the primary economic ("un anillo que nunca imaginó que tendría") and erotic ("senos erguidos") components of her being. The scene literally points "hacia la parte más alta de la montaña," which sets up a spatial dynamic that structures Rosario’s relationship with Antonio and Emilio as well as a wider social conflict between the ascendancy of drug traffickers from the comunas and a local oligarchy in decline.

The geographic reality of the city of Medellín leads to the confusion of traditional symbols of economic status and opportunity. In recent decades, the hillsides surrounding Medellín have become the primary land on which thousands of displaced migrants from rural areas of Colombia have settled. In contrast, the old wealthy neighborhoods where Antonio and Emilio were raised remain nestled in the valley below. Thus, the acquisition of material wealth and the outward manifestations of social mobility are expressed in the inverted language of descent: As Rosario says on one occasion, "bajar de la comuna para venir acá, donde ustedes [Antonio and Emilio] es como ir a Miami" (40). The discothèque where Emilio and Rosario first meet becomes the liminal space where the volatile mixing of these two social classes occurs: "La discoteca fue uno de esos tantos sitios que acercaron a los de abajo que comenzaban a subir, y a los de arriba que comenzábamos a bajar" (24). Nevertheless, the origins of both groups is replicated within the nightclub by the same spatial configuration: "Bailaba [Rosario] sola en la parte alta donde siempre se hacían ellos, porque ahora que tenían más plata que nosotros les correspondía el mejor sitio de la discoteca, y tal vez, porque nunca perdieron la costumbre de ver a la otra ciudad desde arriba" (76).

The integration of former residents of the comunas represents one in a series of examples in which the reliability of external, distinguishing markers of class has been diminished. By illicit or violent means Rosario and other members of her cohort have been relocated into these areas of the city by the powerful bosses who control the local drug trade: "Ellos la bajaron de su comuna, le mostraron las bellezas que hace la plata, cómo viven los ricos, cómo se consigue lo que uno quiere, sin excepción, porque todo se puede conseguir, si uno quiere" (16). For their part, Antonio and Emilio perform symbolic acts of social approximation by adopting the dress and physical appearance of members of Rosario’s combo:

Primero fue el pelo, nos lo dejamos bien cortico y con unas colas más discretas, después nos enrollamos maricaditas en las muñecas y nos forramos en bluyines viejos, en las rumbas intercambiábamos las camisetas, y así fue como a mi armario fue a parar la ropa de Fierrotibio, Charli, Pipicito, Mani y otros. (56)

It is this blending of gang members, drug traffickers and sicarios with the sons of the waning class of elites that is obfuscated by a rapid reconfiguration of signifiers.
Antonio’s repeated references to the failure of Emilio’s relationship with Rosario leaves little suspense as to the ultimate outcome of their affair. Therefore, our attention naturally centers around Emilio and Antonio and the basis for their physical and emotional attraction to Rosario. Her purely physical appeal to these two young heterosexual men is stressed in the following scene:

Del humo y las luces que prendían y apagaban, de los chorros de neblina artificial, de una maraña de brazos que seguía el ritmo de la música, emergió Rosario como una Venus futurista, con botas negras hasta la rodilla y plataformas que la elevaban más allá de su pedestal de bailarina, con una minifalda plateada y una ombliguera de manga sisa y verde neón; con su piel canela, su pelo negro, sus dientes blancos, sus labios gruesos, y unos ojos que me tocó imaginar porque bailaba con ellos cerrados para que nadie la sacara de su cuento, para que la música no se le escapara con alguna distracción, o tal vez para no ver a la docena de guaches que la creían propia, encerrándola en un círculo que no sé como Emilio pudo traspasar. (76)

Antonio’s description of Rosario combines suggestive clothing with physical attributes that result in a decidedly conventional, highly objectified sexual image. However, the novel makes it impossible to isolate biological drives as the singular explanation for sexual attraction. The inclusion of detail regarding her exclusivity and elusiveness drift into the realm of class and culture, suggesting that part of her appeal involves her status as foreign and proscribed.

Along these lines, the novel goes to great lengths to cultivate this social aspect of her erotic appeal. Antonio repeatedly underscores the inherent danger in Emilio’s relationship with Rosario. In addition to her propensity to kill in the midst of sexual contact, her previous relationship with another jealous sicario placed Emilio in a precarious position: "Pero tengo que admitirlo: yo tuve más miedo que Emilio, porque con ella no se trataba de gusto, de amor o de suerte, con ella la cosa era de coraje" (16). A general fear of violence plays a central role in Antonio’s dealings with Rosario. This fear would seem justified since multiple manifestations of violence contribute to the formation of Rosario’s public persona and personal identity. At the most primary level, Rosario’s early childhood spent in the comunas included recurring sexual abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. Rosario was also the perpetuator of violence, attacking her elementary teachers with scissors on more than one occasion. However, her notoriety as well as her moniker tijeras are acquired after she avenges a rape by seducing her attacker and subsequently castrating him with a pair of seamstress shears.

The particular aspect of these scissors should not be overlooked for their symbolic significance, especially within the context of violence and class conflict. The availability of these scissors to Rosario resides in the failed attempt by her mother, Doña Rubi, to pursue a legal avenue to economic security and social mobility:

Sus padres, como casi todos los de la comuna, bajaron del campo buscando lo que todos buscan, y al no encontrar nada se instalaron en la parte alta de la ciudad para dedicarse al rebusque. Su mamá se colocó de empleada de servicio, interna, con salidas los domingos para estar con sus hijos y hacer visita conyugal. Era adicta a las telenovelas, y de tanto verlas en la casa donde trabajaba se hizo echar. Pero tuvo más suerte, se consiguió un trabajo de por días que le permitía ir a dormir a su casa y ver las telenovelas acostada en la cama. De Esmeralda, Topacio y Simplemente María aprendió que se podía salir de pobre metiéndose a clases de costura; lo difícil entonces era encontrar cupo los fines de semana, porque todas las empleadas de la ciudad andaban con el mismo sueño. Pero la costura no la sacó de la pobreza, ni a ella ni a ninguna, y las únicas que se enriquecieron fueron las dueñas de las academias de corte y confección. (14-15)

Doña Rubi’s failure is presented as a failure by design, a kind of scam perpetrated on thousands of unsuspecting poor women by the mass media ("las telenovelas") and the local business sector ("las academias de corte y confección). The deception injects an element of violence into a web of relationships that finds its full expression in the metonym of the shears. As opposed to a tool employed within the productive trade of dressmaking, the dormant scissors are eventually reactivated as a tool within the trade of assault, disfigurement, and murder.

These and other examples of personal tragedy and violence are told to Antonio by Rosario. In fact, Antonio is captivated not only by Rosario’s beauty, but also by her skill as a storyteller. The narrating of violence represents a sensuous, corporeal experience for both:

Hablaba con los ojos, con la boca, con toda la cara, lo hacía con el alma cuando hablaba conmigo. Me apretaba el brazo para enfatizar algo, o me ponía su mano delgada sobre el muslo cuando lo que me contaba se complicaba. Sus historias no eran fáciles. Las mías parecían cuentos infantiles al lado de las suyas, y si en las mías Caperucita regresaba feliz con su abuelita, en las de ella, la niña se comía al lobo, al cazador y a su abuela, y Blancanieves masacraba los siete enanos. (26)

The reader of Rosario Tijeras joins Antonio as the receptor of stories that recreate a violent and underprivileged past. These stories contribute to the characterization of Rosario while providing Antonio and the reader with a narrative replete with images of violence, exploitation, and drug abuse. In recalling the early days of his involvement with Emilio and Rosario, Antonio cites his desire to depart from his existence as a floundering student and loveless young adult: "Me metí con ellos porque los quería, porque no podía vivir sin Emilio y Rosario, y porque a esa edad quería sentir más la vida, y con ellos tenía garantizada la aventura" (35).

If the stories of Rosario’s sordid affairs provide Antonio the spectator with compelling theatre, his introduction to the strange world of the comunas constitutes a tour of the exotic periphery of his hometown of Medellín:

Cuando llegamos a la parte baja de su barrio, comenzó a guiarme. Ya estábamos en el laberinto, en tierra extraña, solo quedaba seguir instrucciones y ponerle primera al carro. Después, todo fue estupefacción ante el paisaje, desconcierto ante los ojos que seguían nuestro ascenso, miradas que no conocía, que me hacían sentir ajeno, gestos que obligaban a preguntarme qué hacía yo, un extranjero, ahí. (42).

Central to these frequent displays of marginalia is Rosario’s role as performer before her dumbstruck spectators, Emilio and Antonio. For example, Rosario causes a minor automobile accident, when, in a fit of rage, she breaks suddenly in traffic:

Yo [Antonio] me escurrí en el asiento, me agarré de los bordes y estiré las piernas como si pudiera frenar con ellas. Pero no hubo necesidad, porque Rosario frenó en seco, tan en seco que Emilio fue a parar a la parte de delante, en medio de ella y yo, tan en seco que el carro de atrás nos chocó, pero a Rosario pareció no importarle el estruendo de vidrios y latas […]. (97-98)

This scene, and the metaphorical image that the automobile evokes, function in multiple ways to illustrate an underlying relationship between the three primary characters of the novel, especially as it pertains to Rosario’s role as entertainer. The frequent depiction of Rosario "at the wheel" while her male companions are passengers "along for the ride" illustrate the passive posture that these men assume in the company of Rosario. The threat of violence, the glimpse into a heretofore unknown world of abuse, and the constant display of marginalia, all contribute to the erotic appeal that Rosario holds for both men. Although Rosario’s physical beauty may have attracted both men’s initial attention, the variety of personal traits rooted in the violence of Medellín’s underclass holds their interest.

With specific regard to Emilio’s relationship with Rosario, one could argue that Franco’s novel is the latest variation on the rich boy/poor girl theme employed to assess the degree of social bias reflected in the ultimate success or failure of their relationship. To a certain extent, this model applies to Rosario Tijeras. Miguel Cabañas traces the allegorical components of this relationship as part of a broader consideration of the figure of the sicario in recent Colombian fiction:

La relación entre Emilio y Rosario simboliza la posibilidad de unir estas dos partes de la sociedad colombina que aparecen separadas por un abismo. Sin embargo, la unión no es posible. La relación de Emilio y Rosario evoca la relación entre la comuna y sociedad burguesa a través de la metáfora de la violencia y el sexo. Los mundos paralelos solo encuentran una breve fusión en el goce adenalínico de la muerte, las drogas y la violencia. (19)

Taking a longer view of Latin American literature, Rosario Tijeras stands at the opposing end of the allegorical spectrum that incorporate romantic unions at the service of a larger political or national agenda. For nineteenth-century novelists, "erotic passion was […] the opportunity (rhetorical and otherwise) to bind together heterodox constituencies: competing regions, economic interests, races, religions" (Sommer 14). By the end of the twentieth century, Rosario Tijeras is a stark reminder that the "foundational fictions" of Latin America yielded long ago to works that ultimately view socioeconomic divisions as hopelessly irreconcilable.

Invoking his elevated social status, Emilio walks out on Rosario after she raises the stakes by proposing that the trio establish an international drug smuggling ring. Emilio reasserts his dominant class status in a reflexive, involuntary way, symbolically denoted when an oblivious Emilio and Antonio ascend in the elevator at the conclusion of the following scene:

Mirá, Rosario –dijo Emilio–: te equivocaste de socios, acordate de que nosotros somos gente decente.
¡Decente! ¡Jua! –replicó furiosa–. Lo que son es unos güevones.

–Vámonos –me dijo Emilio.

Yo miré a Rosario pero ella no se percató, estaba resoplando con la cabeza hacia abajo y los brazos cruzados, recostada contra la pared. Emilio abrió la puerta y salió, yo quería decir algo pero no sabía qué, por eso me decidí a decirle: ‹‹Rosario, no sé qué decir››, pero ella no me dejó, antes que yo pudiera abrir la boca me dijo:

Andate, parcero, largate vos también.

Levanté los hombros en un gesto imbécil y salí mirando al piso. Emilio estaba al pie del ascensor, oprimiendo con insistencia el botón para bajar, pero antes que se abriera vimos a Rosario asomar la cabeza y gritarnos desde la puerta:

–¡Así son ustedes! ¡Se creen de mejor familia y va uno a ver y son unos pobres hijueputas!

Cerró de un portazo cuando nos metimos al ascensor. Estábamos tan sulfurados que no nos dimos cuenta de que en lugar de bajar, íbamos para arriba. (152)

The ambiguity created by the aforementioned inversion of the up/down symbolism leads to a dual interpretation of this climatic scene. On one hand, Emilio’s assertion of his superior class status would lead some to see the inadvertent ascension in the elevator as a reflection of Emilio’s final conversation with Rosario and the recuperation of his original class affiliation. On the other hand, his refusal to participate in the prevailing economic system, which has benefited individuals such as Rosario, ominously suggests an acceleration of these economic forces that threaten the hegemony of Medellín’s oligarchy. In either case, the abrupt severing of ties between Antonio, Emilio, and Rosario can be attributed to the blurring of class lines and the ways in which members of both classes express their origins. In spite of his own participation in this process, Emilio’s reactive response in particular would appear to suggest a level of uneasiness with the emergence of individuals, such as Rosario, who, in the process of attaining greater material wealth, shadow the cultural behavior of elites.(4)

Camilla Segura Bonnett asserts that the novel’s prominent component of melodrama explains "el fenómeno editorial y literario en el que se convirtió la novela pocos meses después de haber salido a la venta" (118). I would suggest that the success of Franco’s novel is owed, at least in part, to the class affirming message that elites could infer from Rosario’s ultimate demise. A whole range of comments and observations made by Antonio would likely have a palliative effect for those whose traditional position of social dominance has been shaken by the tumult of narco-violence and the flow of money and material possessions into the underclass. For instance, descriptions of Rosario continually foreground a mysterious, almost supernatural nature. Unknown details of Rosario’s identity, such as her age and true surname are not only a constant source of consternation for Emilio and Antonio; they point to how Rosario resists incorporation into standard conceptual and social frameworks that contribute to the formation of a recognizable social being. Other qualities such as an "olor a Rosario (7)" and her "chaleco anitbalas debajo de la piel (7)" lead Antonio to wonder: "¿De qué estás hecha, Rosario Tijeras?" (79). If her beauty and sexual attraction are uncommon, they are part and parcel of a larger, unknowable creature.

Antonio’s role in the novel is not limited to his function as narrator or to the passive observer of Rosario’s exploits. He also assumes the authoritative role of the amateur social scientist who studies the actions of Rosario while attempting to explain her behavior and beliefs.(50)(5) This gaze of the examiner results in statements that appeal to the logic of an underlying sociological principle or phenomenon:

De lo que sí estaba seguro era de que su angustia no se debía exclusivamente a la droga. Fueron las circunstancias que la llevaron a ella, las que precisamente sumergieron a Rosario en el fondo de lo que ya se había llenado. La droga fue el último recurso para paliar el daño que la vida ya le había hecho, la cerca falsa que uno construye al borde del abismo. (108)

Antonio’s role as pseudo-sociologist/psychologist is less significant than his conclusions regarding the trajectory of Rosario’s life. Antonio forecloses the possibility of real social advancement, or the ability of individuals to overcome psychologically the kind of violence and trauma that plagued Rosario’s upbringing: "Rosario siempre ha luchado por olvidar todo lo que ha dejado atrás, pero su pasado es como una casa rodante que la ha acompañado hasta el quirófano"(8). It would not be too cynical to allege that the conclusions made by Antonio within the context of social turmoil and class conflict can be read by some as a reassuring sociological principle that restores a sense of eminence among the traditional ruling classes.

Confronted with the impossibility of a "Rosario curada de su pasado"(113), the final third of the novel is almost entirely devoted to Antonio’s disillusionment and heartbreak. There is something almost jarring if not grotesque about the shift in narrative focus from the more primary concerns of basic individual survival as an inhabitant of the comunas to the lyricism of the coming-of-age story with which the novel concludes:

Fue ella la que nos desaferró de esa adolescencia que ya jóvenes nos resistíamos a abandonar. Fue ella la que nos metió en el mundo, la que nos partió el camino en dos, la que nos mostró que la vida era diferente al paisaje que nos habían pintado. Fue Rosario Tijeras la que me hizo sentir lo máximo que puede latir un corazón y me hizo ver mis despechos anteriores como simples chistes de señoras, para mostrarme el lado suicida del amor […]. (88)

The edifying function of Antonio’s experiences with Rosario sets the entire novel on a thematic footing more often associated with the Bildungsroman than with social realism. Any transcendent meaning in the stories of poverty and drug trafficking, unemployment and exploitation, rape and murder, are to be found in the lessons learned by Antonio and his passage into adulthood. In the final analysis, even the suffering of the underclass finds justification in the service that it performs for the wealthy, restless youth of Medellín.

I began this essay with a discussion of the stark associations between eroticism and violence evoked by the novel’s cover art. This analysis of Rosario Tijeras complicates these initial impressions by demonstrating that sexual attraction as depicted in the novel draws not only from the realm of physical beauty but also from the sensational and the proscribed. Speaking from a clearly defined and privileged socioeconomic position, Antonio mediates the presentation of Rosario the sexual object, and in turn, exposes the anxiety pervading his own particular social class. The brief and tragic life of Rosario Tijeras provides a momentary diversion for Emilio and Antonio, who eventually parachute out of their respective relationships with her after their project of social reprogramming fails. Any redeeming value for what is otherwise a thoroughly grim set of circumstances is defined by Antonio, the sympathetic representative of the next generation of compassionate elites.



(1). The cover art discussed here refers to the 1999 edition of Rosario Tijeras published by Siete Cuentos. See "Works Cited" for complete bibliographic information. The cover of the English edition of Rosario Tijeras published by Mondadori in 2000 is quite different, featuring a large knife plunged into a skull wrapped by a banner that includes the words "death before dishonor."

(2). Observed at the website

(3). See María Helena Rueda’s article for an analysis of Fernando Vallejo’s La virgen de los sicarios, a novel that shares some common thematic ground with Rosario Tijeras. Rueda asserts that the question of reproduction is a central organizing response to the prevailing conditions of violence in contemporary Colombian society: "La única opción que plantea la novela reside en el establecimiento de un orden monosexual que acabe con la reproducción de los sicarios, que impida ese inacabable ciclo por el cual las venganzas se heredan de padres a hijos y de hijos a nietos" (401).

(4). Emilio’s apprehension with the ways in which members of the underclass approximate the behavior of elites echoes some of Homi Bhabha’s observations regarding the aspect of mimicry within the context of colonial discourse. Bhabha makes the point that mimicry, as a discursive device, has a dual function of appropriating the Other within the larger system of colonial dominance. However, mimicry also focuses attention on the Other’s status as a "subject of a difference that is almost the same, but not quite" (86). The similarities between the processes of mimicry outlined by Bhabha and the social dynamic portrayed in Rosario Tijeras demonstrate how societies can share common discursive strategies in dissimilar historical contexts.

(5). It is probably safe to assume that this empirical tone in the novel is a partial result of Franco’s creative approach to writing Rosario Tijeras, which involved interviewing female inmates in Colombia.


Works Cited

Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994.

Bird, Rosa Julia. Rev. of Rosario Tijeras. World Literature Today. 75.3 (2001): 219.

Cabañas, Miguel. "El sicario en su alegoría: La ficcionalización de la violencia en la novela colombiana de finales del siglo XX." Taller de Letras. 31 (2002): 7-20.

Franco, Jorge. Rosario Tijeras. New York: Siete Cuentos, 1999.

Rueda, María Helena. "Escrituras del desplazamiento. Los sentidos del desarraigo en la narrativa colombiana reciente." Revista Iberoamericana. 70.207 (2004): 391-408.

Segura Bonnett, Camila. "Kinismo y melodrama en La virgen de los sicarios y Rosario Tijeras." Estudios de Literatura Colombiana. 14 (2004): 111-36.

Sommer, Doris. Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America. Berkeley: U of California P, 1991.

Vélez Sierra, Nelly. Rev. of Rosario Tijeras. 4 Nov. 2005 <>