Nominated by:

Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas El Colegio de México, México

Publisher of nominated edition:

New Directions Publishing Corporation, USA

Tyrant Memory

Horacio Castellanos Moya    

Translated from the original Spanish by Katherine Silver

The tyrant of Horacio Castellanos Moya’s ambitious new novel is the actual pro-Nazi mystic Maximiliano Hernández Martínez – 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. Tyrant Memory takes place during the month between the coup and the strike. Its protagonist, Haydée 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 Haydée’s political awakening in diary entries and Clemente’s frantic and often hysterically comic efforts to escape capture. Tyrant Memory – sharp, grotesque, moving, and often hilariously funny – is an unforgettable incarnation of a country’s history in the destiny of one family.

(From Publishers)

About the Author

Horacio Castellanos Moya is a writer and a journalist from El Salvador. For two decades he worked as the editor of news agencies, magazines and newspapers in Mexico, Guatemala and his own country. As a fiction writer, he was granted residencies in a program supported by the Frankfurt International Book Fair (2004-2006) and in the City of Asylum program in Pittsburgh (2006-2008). He has also taught in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2009, he was guest researcher at the University of Tokyo with a fellowship granted by the Japan Foundation. He has published ten novels, five short story collections and a book of essays. His novels have been translated into eleven languages; four of them (Senselessness, The She-Devil in the Mirror, Dance with Snakes, and Tyrant Memory) are available in English. Currently he teaches creative writing and media in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa.

Librarian’s Comments

His novella Desmonoronamiento in its French edition was selected for the Prix Courrier International 2010. Work translated into German. National Novel Award 1988, American University Jose Simeon Canas. Romulo Gallegos Prize Finalist 2001.

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