El Senor Presidente by Miguel Angel Asturias ; Translated from the Spanish by Frances Partridge
New York : Atheneum, 1964. First American Edition. Hardcover. 286 pages ; 22 cm. $4.50 dust jacket with minimal wear. Tape residue on front and rear cover cloth that once secured the dust jacket down. Discoloration of the front and rear endpapers. Pages are unmarked. Binding is firm.
El Senor Presidente
By Miguel Angel Asturias
Asturias has long been celebrated in Europe and Latin America as a writer of the highest stature. He writes in an extraordinary language of the most staggering vitality, full of symbolism and exotic metaphor, yet uncompromisingly realistic, as powerful and electrifying as a nightmare.
El Senor Presidente is the story of a corrupt and dissolute Caribbean dictator, his henchmen and his victims. The killing of one of his sycophant generals provokes a political intrigue that cannot fail to touch everyone with blood: a halfwit beggar, shot after dragging his body, broken-limbed, through the wilderness for days; his derelict companions, tortured into false confessions; a government official's wife, who watches her nursing infant die just beyond her reach, and is sold into prostitution; a timid court clerk, flogged to death for spilling ink on the President's desk; even Angel Face, the President's favorite, "As handsome and as evil as Satan." The scene is kaleidoscopic: a tavern, a military court, a tropical swamp, a prison cell, a boudoir, a peasant hut, a brothel, the splendid villas of the temporarily fortunate, the vermin-infested slums of the permanently wretched. And the story is a terrifying engine of savagery, destruction, suffering and despair. Yet in the midst of tragedy are moments of grotesque but haunting humor, and through its murk shine the most brilliant pinpoints of love and hope and humanity.
Based on the record of the brutal Cabrera regime in Guatemala, this novel is a ferocious and shattering indictment of dictatorship in any land or time.
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