“I’ll find my father through words. I’ll bring him back to life with words. I will build a cathedral of words. I’ll create a country will my words. In my words I’ll find the universe and i’ll understand the eternal present through my words. In my words, I will find, I will end, I will become the words themselves, become words, words, words, I will incarnate words, words, words.” One of the most searing and underappreciated novels I’ve ever read, a black comedy set in the aftermath of the Guatemalan CIA-staged coup d’état. Maximo is a boy who grows up living under a desk that fell over in the bombing, with a mother who has lost her teeth. The truly post-apocalyptic landscape of horror, violence and gore is a terrible place to come of age, but Maximo has no other choice. Accompanied by an older, flaccid intellectual and a militant sex worker, Maximo takes the reader on a tour of the ravaged country and its history, while trying to speculate if Guatemala has a future.
After the Bombs by Arturo Arias
Translated by Asa Zatz
Published by A Cappella Books in 1990