Harman Writer-In-Residence, Fall 2015
(Photo by Asteroide)
Eduardo Halfon was born in Guatemala City in 1971. He moved to the United States with his family at the age of ten, went to school in Florida, studied Industrial Engineering at North Carolina State University, and then returned to Guatemala to teach Literature during eight years at Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Named one of the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogotá, he is also the recipient of the prestigious José María de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel. Although bilingual, Halfon chooses to write in Spanish and has published nine books of fiction. In 2011 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on continuing the story of The Polish Boxer, which was the first of his novels to be published in English, in 2012, by Bellevue Literary Press in the US, and Pushkin Press in the UK. Halfon now lives in Nebraska.
An excerpt from The Polish Boxer
“It was in Auschwitz.
At first I wasn’t sure I’d heard him. I looked up. He was covering the number with his right hand. Drizzle purred against the roof tiles.
This, he said rubbing his forearm gently. It was in Auschwitz, he said. It was with the boxer, he said without looking at me and with no emotion whatsoever and speaking in an accent no longer his own.
I would have liked to ask him what it felt like when, after almost sixty years of silence, he finally said something truthful about the origin of that number. Ask him why he had said it to me. Ask him if releasing words so long stored up produced some liberating effect. Ask him if words stored up for so long had the same taste as they rolled roughly off the tongue. But I kept quiet, impatient, listening to the rain, fearing something, perhaps the intense transcendence of the moment, perhaps that he might not tell me anything more.”
Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 5:45 pm
A reading and conversation with Eduardo Halfon in the Asriel and Marie Rackow Conference Room, Room 750, Information and Technology Building, Baruch College.