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Fantastic.

—Junot Diaz

Horacio Castellanos Moya

El Salvadoran writer and journalist

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. 


The Dream of My Return

Fiction by Horacio Castellanos Moya

translated by Katherine Silver

Is the journalist’s plan to return a dream or a nightmare? Is he courageous, foolhardy, or just plain dumb? Is the bubbling brew of horrors and threats actual or imagined? After seeking relief for the pain in his liver through hypnosis, his few remaining impulse-control mechanisms rapidly dissolve, and reality only rarely intrudes on his cogitations. Hair-brained murder plots, half-mad arguments, and hysterical rants: the narrative escalates at a maniacal pace, infused with Horacio Castellanos Moya’s uniquely outlandish and unlikely acerbic sense of humor.



Tyrant Memory

Fiction by Horacio Castellanos Moya

translated 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.



The She-Devil in the Mirror

Fiction by Horacio Castellanos Moya

translated by Katherine Silver

Laura Rivera can’t believe what has happened. Her best friend has been killed in cold blood in the living room of her home, in front of her two young daughters! Nobody knows who pulled the trigger, but Laura will not rest easy until she finds out. Her dizzying, delirious, hilarious, and blood-curdling one-sided dialogue carries the reader on a rough and tumble ride through the social, political, economic, and sexual chaos of post-civil war San Salvador. A detective story of pulse-quickening suspense, The She-Devil in the Mirror is also a sober reminder that justice and truth are more often than not illusive. Castellanos Moya’s relentless, obsessive narrator—female, rich, paranoid, wonderfully perceptive, and, in the end, fabulously unreliable—paints with frivolous profundity a society in a state of collapse. 



Senselessness

Fiction by Horacio Castellanos Moya

translated by Katherine Silver

A boozing, sex-obsessed writer finds himself employed by the Catholic Church (an institution he loathes) to proofread a 1,100 page report on the army’s massacre and torture of thousands of indigenous villagers a decade earlier, including testimonies of the survivors. The writer’s job is to tidy it up: he rants "that was what my work was all about, cleaning up and giving a manicure to the Catholic hands that were piously getting ready to squeeze the balls of the military tiger." Publishers Weekly calls Senselessness a "crushing satire," remarking, "It’s Moya’s genius to make this difficult character seem a product of the same death and disorder documented in the report, as the survivors’ voices merge with his own;" and Russell Banks writes, "This is a brilliantly crafted moral fable, as if Kafka had gone to Latin America for his source materials. I’ve not read anything quite like it. Clearly, Castellanos Moya is a major writer who deserves a wide audience in the U.S." Roberto Bolaño called Castellanos Moya "the only writer of my generation who knows how to narrate the horror, the secret Vietnam that Latin America was for a long time." He also said about his work, "nationalists of all stripes can’t stand it. Its sharp humor, not unlike a Buster Keaton film or a time bomb, threatens the fragile stability of imbeciles who, when they read the book, have an uncontrollable desire to hang the author in the town square. I can’t think of a higher honor for a writer."