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Guatemalan Author David Unger's Essential Reading for the Holidays

Bookwitty By Bookwitty Published on November 11, 2016
This article was updated on December 22, 2017

Guatemalan novelist David Unger was awarded his country’s Miguel Ángel Asturias National Prize in Literature in 2014, despite writing exclusively in English. He is the author of the novels The Price of Escape and Life in the Damn Tropics. His short stories and essays have appeared in Words Without Borders, Guernica, KGBBarLit, and Playboy Mexico. He has translated fourteen books from Spanish into English. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. His latest novel, The Mastermind, was published in 2016.

How will you be spending your holidays?

I am hoping to catch up on reading, in particular novels published in Spanish by Latin American friends. And working on an essay about my paternal grandmother who was on the infamous [German transatlantic liner] Saint Louis, ended up living in Groningen, Holland, before being shipped out to Sobibor.

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Which books would you like to read that you haven't found time to read before?

Top of the list is Chilean and best buddy Carlos Franz's prize-winning novel Si te vieras con mis ojos (Chile: Alfaguara), followed by Guatemalan short story writer Valeria Cerezo's La muerte de Darling (Guatemala:  F y G Editores). I'll also be reading Carlos Fonseca's Colonel Lagrimas and How to Travel Without Seeing by Andres Neuman (both Restless Books).

Which book(s) do you re-read regularly during the holidays that you might buy as a gift for a friend or recommend to your children?

Oddly enough, I enjoy rereading Joyce's Dubliners,  especially "The Dead". And Sendak's In the Night Kitchen. It is precious and tickles my soul-- good for kids and arrested development adults.

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