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New Writing from Guatemala

October 2014

Image: Lourdes de la Riva, "Artificio 001,” 2012. From the series "Los Creadores.”

Image: Lourdes de la Riva, “Artificio 001,” 2012. From the series “Los Creadores.”

​This month we present writing from Guatemala. With contributors ranging from the master Rodrigo Rey Rosa to the rising young Rodrigo Fuentes, the prose in this issue offers a taste of this country’s little-known literature. Parent-child relationships drive many of the narratives here, as Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s frantic father searches for his disappeared toddler, Denise Phé-Funchal’s young girl tries to win the heart of her resentful mother, and Rodrigo Fuentes’s wary adult son is drawn into his mother’s remarriage to a haunted man. Mildred Hernández reveals the violence seething just under the surface of a couple’s home and marriage. Luis de Lion’s witty narrative monkeys around with politics. Dante Liano exposes the shocking truth behind a woman’s innocent pose. Carol Zardetto’s dreamy narrator returns to Guatemala and her previous life. And David Unger, winner of this year’s Miguel Ángel Asturias National Prize for Literature, finds the best way to confront his country’s history of corruption is through fiction. We thank our guest editor, WWB favorite Eduardo Halfon, for his assistance with the issue.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of The Milton and Beatrice Wind Foundation.

Trees in a zoo
Photo by Rosalind Chang on Unsplash
Some Other Zoo
By Rodrigo Rey Rosa
I explained at the top of my voice that my daughter had disappeared.
Translated from Spanish by Daniel Hahn
By Rodrigo Fuentes
His father had just been taken down from the branch of a ceiba tree.
Translated from Spanish by Kate Newman
Paranoid City
By Mildred Hernández
Inside the trunk was another lifeless body.
Translated from Spanish by Anne McLean
“The Mastermind”: An Act of Translation
By David Unger
No one can understand what is going on in Guatemala.
from “With Absolute Passion”
By Carol Zardetto
I go in and out of memories as one fighting to stay awake.
Translated from Spanish by D. W. Coop Allred
The Ape
By Luis de Lión
“He really looks like his monkey, doesn’t he?”
Translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey
By Denise Phé-Funchal
Papá’s words have a dry smell, as dry as the skin on his lips.
Translated from Spanish by Lisa M. Dillman
Young Aurora and the Captive Child
By Dante Liano
Young Aurora, said the butcher, wasn’t Miss Aurora at all.
Translated from Spanish by Thomas Bunstead