Synopses & Reviews
The tyrant of Horacio Castellanos Moya's ambitious new novel is the actual pro-Nazi mystic Maximiliano Herna´ndez Marti´nez -- known as the Warlock -- who came to power in El Salvador in 1932. An attempted coup in April, 1944, failed, but a general strike in May finally forced him out of office. takes place during the month between the coup and the strike. Its protagonist, Hayde´e Aragon, is a well-off woman, whose husband is a political prisoner and whose son, Clemente, after prematurely announcing the dictator's death over national radio during the failed coup, is forced to flee when the very much alive Warlock starts to ruthlessly hunt down his enemies. The novel moves between Hayde´e's political awakening in diary entries and Clemente's frantic and often hysterically comic efforts to escape capture. -- sharp, grotesque, moving, and often hilariously funny -- is an unforgettable incarnation of a coun- try's history in the destiny of one family.
"Moya's absorbing new novel is set in early 1944 El Salvador after a coup fails to depose real life pro-Nazi dictator Maximiliano HernÃ¡ndez Martinez. Members of Moya's fictional Aragon family play unexpected roles in the uprising: With her husband in prison, well-connected matriarch HaydÃ©e must handle the crises that befall her family, such as when their newscaster son, Clemente, announces on-air that the dictator is dead, an error that could cost him his life. His cousin Jimmy, a tough military captain involved in the coup, helps the pampered Clemente escape (Clemente's entitled whining and Jimmy's bravado make for some very funny scenes). The story unfolds largely through HaydÃ©e's diary, documenting her growth into solidarity with the politically oppressed; at great risk, she becomes involved in a general strike that eventually ousts the dictator. Moya (The She-Devil in the Mirror) has an unlikely heroine in HaydÃ©e, but she possesses one quality that her husband lacks: she's not been corrupted or disillusioned by politics. This intriguing novel turns the spotlight from the rulers onto the hopeful souls who will tolerate tyranny for only so long. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
" stands out because of its scrupulous evocation of an atmosphere of conspiracy and its use of historical events." Anderson Tepper Time Out New York
"Brilliantly funny and unsettling. Despite his estrangement from his country and his merciless criticism of it, he has put El Salvador on the literary map, giving it an international existence." Natasha Wimmer
"The only writer of my generation who knows how to narrate the horror, the secret Vietnam that Latin America was for a long time." Julia Haav Three Percent
"A welcome, eye-opening addition to this new literature of the Latin American nightmare." The Nation
"Castellanos Moya can be a brilliant practitioner of edge of collapse, culling searing narratives of exile and estrangement." The Nation
"In , Castellanos Moya's ambitious and deft handling of his characters' stories and political milieus reveal a writer unparalleled in his ability to portray the anxieties and messy complexities of political and personal turmoil." Anderson Tepper Time Out New York
Castellanos Moya's most thrilling book to date, about the senselessness of tyranny.
About the Author
Horacio Castellanos Moya was born 1957 in Honduras. He has lived in San Salvador, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico (where he spent ten years as a journalist, editor, and political analyst), Spain, and Germany. In 1988 he won the National Novel Prize from Central American University for his first novel. His work has been published and translated in England, Germany, El Salvador and Costa Rica. He has published ten novels and is now living in exile as part of the City of Asylum project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Katherine Silver is an award-winning literary translator and the co-director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC).