In a small town in the mountains of Colombia, Ismael, a retired teacher, spends his mornings gathering oranges in the sunshine and spying on his neighbour as she sunbathes naked in her garden.Returning from a walk one morning he discovers that his wife has disappeared. Then more people go missing, and not-so-distant gunfire signals the approach of war. Most of the villagers make their escape, but Ismael cannot leave without his Otilia. He becomes an unwilling witness to the senseless civil war that sweeps through his country with a tragic inevitability. In The Armies Rosero has created a hallucinatory, relentless, captivating narrative often as violent as the events it describes, told by an old man battered by a reality he no longer recognizes.