A Son’s Portrait of His Murderous Drug Lord Father, Pablo Escobar

Article/Op-Ed in Washington Post
Sept. 30, 2016

Konstantin Kakaes wrote a review in "Pablo Escobar: My Father" in the Washington Post:

If this book were an isolated undertaking, it would be simple enough to ignore it. But even if it becomes only a marginal cultural artifact in the United States, it was a bestseller across Latin America. It is reflective of a more generalized whitewashing of the celebrity drug lord Pablo Escobar. There is a thriving business in Escobar-tourism in Medellin, the Colombian city that served as his stronghold. “Narcos,” a television series on Netflix that parallels many of the stories in the book, portrays Escobar as a lovable rogue. That show is an insult to the dead; suffering as entertainment only enables brutality.
Now the drug kingpin’s son Juan Pablo Escobar, who also uses the name Sebastián Marroquín, has written this moral train wreck of a memoir of his father’s life and times. Published in Spanish in 2014, “Pablo Escobar: My Father” has been newly translated into English. It is reasonable to ask why. The younger Escobar dwells on the indignities of his own life, and revels in the luxuries of his adolescence (a $10,000 wristwatch he wore when he was 13), although he claims not to want to brag. He glides over the deaths his father orchestrated; if Juan Pablo, the man, feels the tragic weight of his inheritance, Juan Pablo, the writer, lacks the skill to convey it.