Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya (SALVADOR)
Translated by Katherine Silver
A boozing, sex-obsessed writer finds himself employed by the Catholic Church (an institution he loathes) to proofread a 1,100 page report on the army's massacre and torture of thousands of indigenous villagers a decade earlier, including the testimonies of the survivors. The writer's job is to tidy it up: he rants, "that was what my work was all about, cleaning up and giving a manicure to the Catholic hands that were piously getting ready to squeeze the balls of the military tiger." Mesmerized by the strange Vallejo-like poetry of the Indians' phrases ("the houses they were sad because no people were inside them"), the increasingly agitated and frightened writer is endangered twice over: by the spell the strangely beautiful heart-rending voices exert over his tenuous sanity, and by real danger―after all, the murderers are the very generals who still run this unnamed Latin American country.
"Manages a brilliant narrative strategy...where everything happens at once." - Ron Slate, Ron Slate
"Chaotic, rampaging approach that characterizes almost the entirety of this short, spirited work." - Sameer Rahim, Daily Literary News
"Nationalists of all stripes can’t stand it. Its sharp humor, not unlike a Buster Keaton film or a time bomb, threatens the fragile stability of imbeciles who, when they read the book, have an uncontrollable desire to hang the author in the town square. I can’t think of a higher honor for a writer.”" - Roberto Bolano
Horacio Castellanos Moya is a writer and a journalist from El Salvador. For two decades he worked as the editor of news agencies, magazines and newspapers in Mexico, Guatemala and his own country. He has published eleven novels, five short story collections and two essay collections. His novels have been translated into eleven languages; six of them (Revulsion: Thomas Bernhard in El Salvador, The Dream of My Return, Senselessness, The She-Devil in the Mirror, Dance with Snakes, and Tyrant Memory) are available in English. Currently he teaches creative writing and media in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa.