The Beggar's Knife
The Beggar's Knife
Translated by Paul Bowles

From one of Guatemala's finest young writers, these twenty-six stories—at once brutal and intensely lyrical—are peopled with sorcerers, ghosts, and assassins.

Springing from myth and beliefs indigenous to Central America and North America, where their action occurs, Rey Rosa's tales give the sense of being dreamed. At the same time, they can be read as metaphors for the terror and oppression of years of warfare.

Praise for The Beggar's Knife:

"The Beggar's Knife was originally subtitled '24 strange tales' in the English translation by Paul Bowles, published by City Lights Books in 1985. This collection of short stories was originally written in Spanish and was published a year later in their original language in a Guatemala that was returning to democracy.

"In its Spanish version, The Beggar's Knife was composed of 25 intense and enigmatic short stories. It included 'The Path Doubles Back' which, at seven pages, was the longest. Rarely in Guatemala’s literary history (probably since Asturias’ Legends of Guatemala) has a writer’s debut entailed such a promise. Rey Rosa’s first book was evidence of a mature and new style of writing.

"The fantastic tendency and the precise and macabre style in The Beggar’s Knife immediately distanced Rey Rosa from the rest of Guatemalan writers, who persevered with a literal realism to address the armed conflict and social disparities. Rey Rosa’s tales seemed eager to capture 'the possible activity of the unconscious,' in the author’s own words, uncanny events that occurred on the boundary between dreams and reality. However, given Guatemala’s sociopolitical reality at the time, the tales were plagued by acts of vengeance, threats of parricide, nightmares and violent deaths. The narratives, 'like the tricks of a magician,' were a mixture of the magical and the perverse."—Ronald Flores, The Latin American Review of Books

Title The Beggar's Knife
Translated by Paul Bowles
Publisher City Lights Publishers
BISAC Subject Heading FIC000000 FICTION
Title First Published 01 June 1985
Format Paperback
Nb of pages 104 p.
ISBN-10 0872861643
ISBN-13 9780872861640
Publication Date 01 June 1985
Main content page count 104
Weight 16 oz.
List Price $5.95

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Literature in Translation

Central and North American myth, Guatemalan literature in translation, Latin American fiction, Latin American short stories, short stories, stories about assassins, stories about ghosts