In Mourning, Eduardo Halfon’s eponymous narrator travels to Poland, Italy, the U.S., and the Guatemalan countryside in search of secrets he can barely name. He follows memory’s strands back to his maternal roots in Jewish Poland and to the contradictory, forbidden stories of his father’s Lebanese-Jewish immigrant family, specifically surrounding the long-ago childhood death by drowning of his uncle Salomón. But what, or who, really killed Salomón? As he goes deeper, he realizes that the truth lies buried in his own past, in the brutal Guatemala of the 1970s and his subsequent exile to the American South. Mourning is a subtle and stirring reflection on the formative and destructive power of family mythology, silence, and loss. In consultation with the author, Mourning was translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman and Daniel Hahn, both of whom also contributed to the translations of The Polish Boxer and Monastery.
About the Author: Author: Eduardo Halfon Translators: Lisa Dillman and Daniel Hahn
Eduardo Halfon was born in Guatemala City, moved to the United States at the age of ten, went to school in South Florida, studied industrial engineering at North Carolina State University, and then returned to Guatemala to teach literature for eight years at Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Named one of the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogotá, he is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Roger Caillois Prize, José María de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel, and Guatemalan National Prize in Literature. He is the author of fourteen books published in Spanish and three novels published in English: Mourning, winner of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, finalist for the Kirkus Prize, International Latino Book Award, and Balcones Fiction Prize, and longlisted for the PEN Translation Prize; Monastery, longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award; and The Polish Boxer, a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and finalist for the International Latino Book Award. Halfon currently lives in Nebraska, frequently travels to Guatemala, taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, and recently received a fellowship from Columbia University to write his next book in Paris. Lisa Dillman translates from Spanish and teaches in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She has translated numerous books by Spanish and Latin American writers including Eduardo Halfon, Andrés Barba, Christopher Domínguez Michael, Sabina Berman, and Yuri Herrera. Her translation of Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World received the Best Translated Book Award. Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor, and translator with some fifty books to his name, including novels by José Eduardo Agualusa, Eduardo Halfon, and Juan José Millás. His translations from Portuguese, Spanish, and French include fiction from Europe, Africa, and the Americas and nonfiction by writers ranging from Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago to Brazilian footballer Pelé. He is also the editor of the new Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature. He lives in Lewes, England.