”Eduardo Halfon’s prose is delicate, precise, and as ineffable as precocious art—a lighthouse that illuminates everything.” —FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, author of Say Her Name
“These are the stories of life . . . the question of survival (of both people and cultures) and the way the fictional makes the real bearable and intelligible.” —Publishers Weekly (boxed review)
The Polish Boxer covers a vast landscape of human experience while enfolding a search for origins: a grandson tries to make sense of his Polish grandfather’s past and the story behind his numbered tattoo; a Serbian classical pianist longs for his forbidden heritage; a Mayan poet is torn between his studies and filial obligations; a striking young Israeli woman seeks answers in Central America; a university professor yearns for knowledge that he can’t find in books and discovers something unexpected at a Mark Twain conference. Drawn to what lies beyond the range of reason, they all reach for the beautiful and fleeting, whether through humor, music, poetry, or unspoken words. Across his encounters with each of them, the narrator—a Guatemalan literature professor and writer named Eduardo Halfon—pursues his most enigmatic subject: himself.
Mapping the geography of identity in a world scarred by a legacy of violence and exile, The Polish Boxer marks the debut of a major new Latin American voice in English.
Eduardo Halfon has been cited as among the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogotá and is the recipient of Spain’s prestigious José María de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel. In 2011 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to continue the story of The Polish Boxer, which is his first novel to be published in English. He travels frequently to his native Guatemala and lives in Nebraska.