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Articles tagged "Guatemalan Literature"

Some Other Zoo

It was as though she knew exactly where she had to go, as though it was an agreed appointment. She raised her arm to take my hand, pulled gently—she did almost everything gently—and I followed her. She led me to her mother’s car (her mother was not around), and I helped her up into the child seat. “So, off to the zoo.” “Yes,” she said. “Eagle! Lion!” The zoo seemed to be empty. Alone, in the middle of the main path, a roadsweeper was...

Amir

This one’s family, Amir would say with a hand on my shoulder, his fingers large and heavy but kind. The other person would look at me, then look at him, then smile slightly before putting out his hand and saying it was a real pleasure to meet any relative of Amir’s. Later, when they knew each other better, Amir would explain to the person that he was actually my stepfather, that’s why we didn’t look alike. But that’s how Amir was, not overly careful when it...

Paranoid City

“Did you hear that noise?” the woman whispered, leaning on one elbow in bed, and opening her eyes wide. “What noise?” her husband asked sleepily. “It sounds like it’s coming from the yard. There’s someone on the roof, or in the kitchen,” she said fearfully. “Get up. Go check on the kids, while I get my pistol,” he ordered in a hushed voice and woke up entirely. While the woman quickly tiptoed to the children’s room the...

“The Mastermind”: An Act of Translation

The Rodrigo Rosenberg case broke into public view over five years ago with an eighteen-minute video recording that was distributed to the Guatemalan press at Rosenberg's funeral two days after his April 10, 2009, death. The video--in which Rosenberg predicted his own murder—was uploaded immediately to YouTube where it went viral, receiving hundreds of thousands of hits from all over the globe in a matter of hours. The recording revealed a nervous Rosenberg lambasting a corrupt and...

from “With Absolute Passion”

Days drift away slowly and quietly deep inside Guatemala. No inner musings. No pondering or ideas. Just a numbing silence, which reminds me of Buddhists and their thoughts about beginners’ minds that are forever capable of wonder. There’s something here that eludes my grasp . . . But in the snapshot instant when the plunging frigidity of Lake Atitlán pitches me into the arms of another reality, I suddenly understand. Perhaps the Mayas really do suspend this land from a...

The Ape

I used to think it an exaggeration that Latin American dictators were always depicted as apes in cartoons. Until one day . . . On the railway track, hundreds of soldiers appeared in their camouflage gear, several armored cars blocked the crossroads, and up in the sky hovered two of those birds. It was Sunday. A football match was being played out in the field, there were drunks in the cantinas, and a sweet marimba was playing at a party. All of a sudden, everything felt like a Monday....

Raspberries

Papá gave me this notebook. It’s so you can draw life, he told me from bed, and write, when you learn how to write, he said, his eyes sunken deep, as I played on the rug. He gave me the notebook because I told him about the bird that crossed the street at the crosswalk and about the red spider with little antennas. Spiders don’t have antennas, he said, smiling, and I said this one did, it was probably a different insect, he said, and I replied that it was not, that it...

White Sand, Black Stone

The young officer was reading the pages of my passport diligently, scrupulously, as though they were the pages of a gossip magazine or a cheap novel. He held them up. He looked at them against the light. He scratched them hard with the nail of his index finger. It occurred to me that at any moment he might fold over the corner of one of the pages, marking it, as though planning to return to his reading later. You travel a lot, he said suddenly as he went over all the stamps. I didn’t...

The Polish Boxer

69752. That it was his phone number. That it was tattooed there, on his left forearm, so he wouldn't forget it. That's what my grandfather told me. And that's what I grew up believing. In the seventies, the country's phone numbers were all five digits. I called him Oitze because he called me Oitze, which meant something corny in Yiddish. I liked his Polish accent. I liked to dip my pinky finger (the only physical characteristic I inherited from him was his gnarled pair...

The Sarima’s Mission

Bulul! Tununun! Bululululu! Tununununun! Bulululululululul! Tunununununununu! The voice of the hill resounded in the blue sky, as if several thunderclaps had occurred at one time, or as if a group of stars had collapsed over our heads. I can still hear that echo and feel the great terror that came over me at that moment. Yes, I was very frightened, so much so, that when I became aware of what had happened, I buried my head in my grandmother's shawl. I remember clearly when Maruca,...

The Water Cathedral

On sunny mornings the walls are white wine, the columns are ginger ale, the towers are immense bottles of beer, the high steeples drip amber. Down in the naves you feel the freshness of orange-water and the main altar is a wave of bee honey, and the saints in the chapels have the coolness of that tea they give to the sick. But in the afternoons, in the twilight hour, the walls turn into thick blood, the colonnade moves on legs of red wine, the towers are that false liquid of red-hot...

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