Edmundo Paz Soldán
Edmundo Paz Soldán was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 1967. He studied political science at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, gaining a doctorate in Hispanic Studies at Berkeley in 1997. He had by this time already achieved recognition as a writer with two volumes of stories and a prize-winning novel.
Paz Soldán is a re pr esentative of the so-called »McOndo« generation that emerged in the nineties and came together in the anthology of the same name in 1996. The term McOndo, coined by Alberto Fuguet, uses a reference to García Márquez’ fictional village Macondo to ex pr ess distance from Magical Realism and, ironically, points to the focus on modern, globalised life of recent Latin American literature. The mass media and popular culture are particular influences and themes in this new, realistic style of writing. While Paz Soldán deals with the calamities of romantic passion in his collections of short stories such as »Amores imperfectos« (1998; t: Imperfect love) and »Desencuentros« (2004; t: Alienations), the pr eferred theme in his novels – alongside that of digital technologies – is the social and cultural reality of his home country, Bolivia, which he often re pr esents in the fictional town »Río fugitivo«. His work is also characterised by his pr edilection for the crime genre and re pr esentations of different levels of reality. The influence of modern classical writers such as Borges and Onetti is clear, and Paz Soldán does not deny it.
In his short story »Dochera« (1998) – awarded with the Premio Juan Rulfo – a cross word compiler who lives like a hermit uses his cryptic clues to hint at the mysterious woman of his dreams. Following »Sueños digitales« (2000; t: Digital dreams) and »La materia del deseo« (2001; Eng. »The Matter of Desire«, 2003) Paz Soldán published a further technological thriller, »El delirio de Turing« (2003; Eng. »TuringCs Delirium«, 2006). He describes the intrigue of a struggle between a government’s security service and a group of hackers who are critics of globalisation. Paz Soldán’s latest novel, »Palacio Quemado« (2006; The burnt palace), also takes up current events, dealing with Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada’s second term as president.
In the anthology »Se habla español« (t: Spanish spoken), published in 2000, Paz Soldán, along with co-editor Alberto Fuguet, presented contemporary Latin American literature to the North American public. The author has received awards, including two National Book Awards, and was a finalist for the Premio Rómulo Gallegos. He has received many scholarships, including one from the Guggenheim Foundation. Alongside his literary work he has written numerous journalistic and academic essays and produced several translations. He has been teaching at the University of Cornell, New York, since 1997.
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