23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Eduardo Halfon

Eduardo Halfon was born in 1971 in Guatemala City. At the age of ten he emigrated with his parents to the United States, attaining a degree in industrial engineering from North Carolina State University before returning to Guatemala to teach literature at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín for eight years. Growing up bilingual, Halfon chose Spanish as the language for his own short stories and novels.He debuted as a writer in 2003 with the novel, »Esto no es una pipa, Saturno« (tr. This is not a pipe, Saturn), which investigates the mysterious suicide of the legendary Guatemalan painter Carlos Valenti in 1912 in Paris from different perspectives and connects it with the suicides of other artists. After several publications, such as the novel »Clases de Dibujo« (2009, tr. Drawing Classes; XV Premio Literario Bodegas Olarra & Café Breton) and the short story »La pirueta« (2010, tr. The Pirouette; XIV Premio de Novela Corta José María de Pereda), the novel »Mañana nunca lo hablamos« (tr. Tomorrow We Never Speak) appeared in 2011. In these works Halfon fictionalised his childhood in the violence-dominated Guatemala of the 1970s. In 2011 the writer received a Guggenheim Fellowship for work on his first novel written in English, »The Polish Boxer« (2012). This text is also deeply rooted in personal experience. The narrator of the story is a character who shares not only the name but also many of the other features of the author: Eduardo is a Jew who struggles with his beliefs. He studied in the U.S., received a Guggenheim Fellowship and teaches literature at a university in Guatemala. With his class of disinterested students, the main character unsuccessfully searches for his long lost Serbian pen pal, Milan Rakić. A central theme of the novel is Eduardo’s Jewish origins, more precisely the story of his grandfather. The title of the novel refers to the Auschwitz concentration camp which, thanks to the help of a Polish Boxer, he survived. Originally planned as a collection of short stories, the novel is constructed in ten loose chapters (similar to rounds in boxing) which frame the main story and the stories of several of the characters. In his work Halfon pursues his idea of literature as »only a good trick like the ones magicians and wizards use to make reality appear in ist full, to trick us into believing that reality is a uniform and self-contained thing«.Eduardo Halfon lives in Nebraska.


Esto no es una pipa, Saturno

AlfaguaraGuatemala, 2003

Clases de dibujo

AMGLogroño, 2009

La pirueta

Pre-Textos Valencia, 2010

Mañana nunca lo hablamos

Pre-Textos Valencia, 2011

Der polnische Boxer

Hanser München, 2014

[Ü: Peter Kultzen u. Luis Ruby]