Juan David Morgan

Between Heaven and Earth

Novel, Planeta, 2019

The nineteenth century was a defining era for Latin America: therein the wars of independence and many civil ones were carried out. The novel, which takes place entirely during this century full of conflicts and charms, tells the story of Panama during this time, its relations with Colombia and its independence. The main character is a historical figure, but he might as well be the invention of a novelist. A thorough investigation about the life and the offspring of Monsignor Jované merges with the fertile imagination of the author, to create, no one knows, no one can tell, not even after finishing the book, if it is a splendid fictionalized biography or a magnificent historical novel. Which is precisely the best of its attributes.


“The character seems extraordinary because the character, as the title says, is between heaven and earth, between the church and the flesh. It is the book of a frontier era, between the world of a still almost colonial time and the independence going towards the very different world found at the end of the century. The fact is that the character interests me very much and as a fellow writer myself and I would like to add that I also identify with the author, because in my opinion he is telling the story as it should be told. I am among those who believe that the heart of the matter is more in the story and less on linguistic experimentalism.”

José Luis Sampedro Writer – Member of the Language Royal Academy 

“Much has been said about Don Fermín Jované’s “love affairs”, whose consequences are undeniable. For some they were scandalous, especially for those people who are related to our character. While living in San Juan Bautista of Penonomé, he had an affair with Juana Jaén, and in the city of Panama, with Francisca Vallarino, a widow, who apparently was somehow related to him. On the subject we find nothing more interesting than the great work of Juan David Morgan, who by carrying out an exceptional research effort to rescue from oblivion this extraordinary character of the nineteenth century, presents us in Memoir form each of the incidents in which Don Fermín participated, without hiding his affairs, a topic that is no longer a novelty within the Catholic clergy.”

Jorge Conte Porras – Historian

“It is a novel that not only gives a very clear idea of what is the history of Panama in the last century, but also it is the story of America, an important part of America from southern United States to Colombia. The argument is the life of Monsignor since childhood, what were his brothers like, what happened to his mother and his friends, his governess, his friend, the friend who lived with him, who was a slave. We witness all the temptations of Monsignor; there are beautiful passages of how he sees the eyes of the woman he loves even before knowing that he loves her. Besides the merit this literary work deserves and how exciting it is, which I strongly recommend, this is one of its great merits: when we have finished reading the novel, we all have the feeling that we are a little wiser.”

Rosa Regás – Writer. Translator. Director of Ateneo Casa de las Americas

“One of the greatest successes of this novel’s author, which stands out for its originality, is how he lays it out from the first page. Writing a good novel such as this one is very hard work and if anyone were to doubt that, they would be quickly convinced if they would give it a try. But the normal difficulties that every literary work presents, are increased significantly when there is so much prior research and documentation to be done, which is what the author has had to do in this case to avoid anachronisms and important omissions. The result has been some well dosed historical references, reducing them to the essentials and a well put together novel with lexical richness and skill provided by the mastery of technique, leaving the main character clearly highlighted.”

Renato Ozores – Writer. Lawyer. Journalist

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