Arnoldo Gálvez Suárez

Portrait Arnoldo Gálvez Suárez
© Sandra Sebastián

Arnoldo Gálvez Suárez was born in 1982 in Guatemala City. He studied journalism and communication studies. He initially worked as a journalist and published his first volume of short stories »El tercer perfil« (tr. The third profile) in 2005. The 26 stories vary in length, they focus on extraordinary events and people or paint bizarre images of violence and fear. In contrast, his debut novel »Los jueces« (2008; tr. The judges) is a realistic account of a group of neighbors on the outskirts of the city, who join to seize and sentence a young woman’s rapist. The novel was Gálvez Suárez’s literary breakthrough, winning him the Mario Monteforte Toledo Prize. In 2013, Gálvez Suárez published a second volume of short stories called »La palabra cementerio« (tr. The word cemetery). The narratives are »assembled with the precision of meticulous architecture, in which the narrative resources and the stylistic resonances are intertwined, in order to tell us much more than what they say« (Eduardo Villalobos). The stories often oscillate between reality and imagination, emphasizing the visionary vigor of the language as well as its ability to reveal concealed conflicts. »Puente adentro« (2015; tr. Indoor bridge) is a crime novel, a mysterious love story and a political drama at the same time. The plot takes place in Guatemala City: One night in 1989, a boy sees his father for the last time – ever after remembering him as a defeated man. A short while later, his father, a professor of history, gets shot in broad daylight. In the turmoil of the civil war, the murder remains unsolved. More than 20 years later at a supermarket, Alberto recognizes Mercedes Lima, one of his father’s former students. Since he never got to know whether his father had been murdered by the Junta or killed in a drama of jealousy, in which Mercedes Lima had apparently played an important role, he follows her, hoping she might help him solve the mystery. »Puente adentro«, awarded with the BAM Letras Prize for Fiction 2015, is more than a dramatic story of a son’s quest to shed light on his father’s death: By way of an individual conflict, Gálvez Suárez introduces the topics of memory and suppression in Guatemala’s recent national history.

Gálvez Suárez has also worked as a television producer and he wrote the script for a film about the Guatemalan youth during the time of the peace agreement. Since 2011, he has been the coordinator of the communications team at »interpeace«, an independent international organization for peace building. He lives in Guatemala.