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June 06, 2011

We chose to highlight Tyrant Memory because we’ve been fans of Horacio Castellanos Moya since the first sentence of Senselessness — a book that was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award. He also came up here to Rochester for an event, and was fascinating, charming, and a good drinker. All of his books tend to deal with characters stuck in somewhat horrifying situations and the way they deal with this — through humor and insanity — is fascinating and compelling. A favorite among readers of international fiction, Moya is a perfect starting point for “Read This Next.”

Here’s the description from New Directions:

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.

Tyrant Memory
Horacio Castellanos Moya
On Sale: 14 June 2011
Translated by Katherine Silver
New Directions

Past Read This Next Features
Every week, Read This Next previews a forthcoming work of literature, offering interested readers an opportunity to check out great new books before they're available anywhere else.

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