Book Notes: Horacio Castellanos Moya’s Revulsion

El Salvador is on the news a lot, and I wanted to introduce this great Salvadoran writer to remind people that the country isn’t all about violence, gangs, the legacy of the civil war, and other horrors. There are also literature, art, and incredible talent.

Moya’s Revulsion has been translated into English, although I obviously read it in Spanish, so I can’t comment on the quality of the translation. If you teach Central American literature, I definitely recommend this book because it’s one of those easy to read yet a lot to discuss novels.

Moya had to flee from his country because he received death threats for writing this novel. Just think of the stupidity. Finally, there’s somebody who is attracting tons of positive attention to El Salvador, who publishes talented novels, who is demonstrating that El Salvador is a place of intellectual and artistic achievement. And these fuckers run him out of the country for patriotic reasons. Because they don’t think he represents El Salvador well enough.

The writer now teaches at the Spanish department of the University of Iowa. He’s crazy talented and the novel is among the best I read in a while. The narrator is an immigrant who feels about his country of origin exactly what I feel from mine.

I think that maybe I should read more Central American writers and post reviews because we never hear anything but stories that portray them as shithole countries. And they aren’t. They really aren’t. They are often tragic countries. But there is also a lot of wonderful stuff there.

3 thoughts on “Book Notes: Horacio Castellanos Moya’s Revulsion”

      1. Your dad is a great person! The protagonist’s disgust for his country is radical, but I know many immigrants who feel the same about their country of origin: I have been in x for many years, and I will never go back to y.

        The protagonist’s description of his flight between Washington and San Salvador had me laugh like I have not in months. I am sure that every one at the train station was jealous of my reading. And his take on la nueva canciOn chilena… and his trip to the beach with his brother… and what he says about bus drivers. Such a great novel!

        Now I must find a way to include this novel is one of my courses.


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