The Polish Boxer covers a vast landscape of human experience while enfolding a search for origins: a grandson tries to make sense of his 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, a native of Guatemala, has been cited as among the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogotá, and he is the recipient of Spain’s prestigious José María de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel.
“A book that willfully and delightfully blurs the boundaries among novel, memoir, and meditation…A key pleasure of The Polish Boxer is that of revelation…The power of The Polish Boxer is that it is always rooted in the personal. It is deeply accessible, deeply moving.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Elegant.” (Marie Claire)
“These are the stories of life…The fictional makes the real bearable and intelligible.” (Publishers Weekly, boxed review)
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