The Polish Boxer
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The Polish Boxer

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"Elegant "Marie Claire" "Funny and revelatory." "New York Times Book Review" "Deeply accessible, deeply moving." "Los Angeles Times" "The Polish Boxer" covers a vast landscape of human experience while enfolding a search for origins: a grandson tries to make sense of his Polish grandfather's past and the story behind his numbered tattoo; a Serbian classical pianist longs for his forbidden heritage; a Mayan poet is torn between his studies and filial obligations; a striking young Israeli woman seeks answers in Central America; a university professor yearns for knowledge that he can't find in books and discovers something unexpected at a Mark Twain conference. Drawn to what lies beyond the range of reason, they all reach for the beautiful and fleeting, whether through humor, music, poetry, or unspoken words. Across his encounters with each of them, the narratora Guatemalan literature professor and writer named Eduardo Halfonpursues his most enigmatic subject: himself. Mapping the geography of identity in a world scarred by a legacy of violence and exile, "The Polish Boxer "marks the debut of a major new Latin American voice in English. Eduardo Halfon was named one of the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogota and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the prestigious Jose Maria de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel. "The Polish Boxer," his first book to appear in English, was a "New York Times" Editors Choice selection and finalist for the International Latino Book Award. Halfon is currently the Harman Writer in Residence at Baruch College in New York and travels frequently between his homes in Nebraska and Guatemala."

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Product details

  • Paperback | 188 pages
  • 124.46 x 187.96 x 15.24mm | 181.44g
  • Bellevue Literary Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1934137537
  • 9781934137536
  • 941,022

Review quote

International Latino Book Award Finalist"New York Times" Editors Choice "Los Angeles Times" Holiday Gift Recommendation Two-time "San Francisco Chronicle" Top Shelf selection"Shelf Unbound" Top 10 Book of the Year"Jewish Week" Fall Arts Preview selection"Publishers Weekly" First Fiction selectionJewish Book Council Weekly Book Recommendation Book Expo America Big Book Funny and revelatory. "New York Times Book Review" Elegant "Marie Claire" Deeply accessible, deeply moving. "Los Angeles Times" Fantastic . . . Intense pain and beauty are offset by an unabashedly boyish sense of humor; in the same page, Halfon can skillfully switch from a discussion about intense immigrant alienation to a hilarious observation on the short male attention span for pornography. NPR "Alt.Latino" Engrossing . . . "The Polish Boxer" by Guatemalan novelist Eduardo Halfon, is a semi-autobiographical tale about roots and origins, identity and cultural loss, and the complex relation between the individual, his or her family story, and the heavy burden of History . . . Short but intense. NBC Latino Stimulating and inspiring. "Independent" (UK) Tight and lean . . . falling somewhere between the novels of Roberto Bolano, WG Sebald, and Junot Diaz. "Telegraph" (UK) ["The Polish Boxer"] exists in the no-man s-land between fiction and memoir. In the end, we decide, this is fable: only the stories are important. "Guardian" (UK) A mix of finely nuanced prose and humor. "World Literature Today" Beautiful and provocative . . . a wonderful read which begs to be re-read. "Jewish Book World" This book provides multiple pleasures: clear, intense prose; sharp, laugh-out-loud depictions of classrooms and conferences . . . and the apparent seamlessness of the translations . . . . The book itself gives a resounding retort to those who might dismiss it as another book about the Holocaust. "Jewish Journal" Halfon passionately and lyrically illustrates the significance of the journey and the beauty of true mystery. "The Polish Boxer" is sublime and arresting, and will linger with readers who will be sure to revisit it again and again. "Booklist" (starred review) These are the stories of life . . . the question of survival (of both people and cultures) and the way the fictional makes the real bearable and intelligible. "Publishers Weekly" (boxed review) Highly readable and engaging . . . provides readers food for thought about the nature of literary creations. "Library Journal" Brilliant . . . opens with one of the best classroom scenes I ve ever read. "Shelf Awareness for Readers" In the simplest explanation, "The Polish Boxer" is a series of encounters for literature professor Eduardowith a young poet, university professors at a Mark Twain conference, his grandfather, his charming girlfriend, who draws her orgasms, and Milan Rackic, a Serbian-Gypsy pianist. In the more complex explanation, it is a journey of self-discovery. "ForeWord Reviews" Eduardo Halfon has been deemed one of the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogota; read his first work to be translated into English, "The Polish Boxer, " and you ll see why. "Shelf Unbound" A brave and touching and dead stylish examination of the nature of fiction, truth and lies. "Dazed & Confused" (UK) Halfon s curiosity about his grandfather s experience in a concentration camp burns through every chapter from the most subtle level to deep investigation . . . He has succeeded in warping a modern Balkan mystery into a Holocaust memoir . . . intrinsically blend[ing] fiction with reality in a deeply visceral way. "Rumpus" "The Polish Boxer" immediately seduced me; on the first page, I felt the spark of recognition that comes from reading something with actual depth and import. "Full Stop" The tales are spellbinding, the prose is magnificent, and several parts will make you laugh out loud. "Gozamos" A revelation . . . "The Polish Boxer" is a book of small miracles. . . . For sheer narrative momentum and fascination with the mix of life and books, sex and art, there are echoes of the Chilean master Roberto Bolano. "Words Without Borders" Eduardo Halfon is a brilliant storyteller, whose gifts are displayed on every page of this beautiful, daring, and deeply humane book. DANIEL ALARCON, author of "War by Candlelight" and "Lost City Radio" Eduardo Halfon s prose is delicate, precise, and as ineffable as precocious arta lighthouse that illuminates everything. FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, author of "Say Her Name" "The Polish Boxer" is the most memorable new novel I have read all yearthe voice pitch-perfect, the imagery indelible. What a wonderful writer. NORMAN LEBRECHT, author of "The Song of Names" "The Polish Boxer" is an enchanting, unclassifiable book of encounters, impressions, and improvisations: a book for the ages, which can be read in one sitting, and then again, and again, and again. CHRISTOPHER MERRILL, director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and author of "The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War" It is not often that one encounters such a mix of personal engagement and literary passion, or pain and tenderness. ANDRES NEUMAN, author of "Traveler of the Century" Eduardo Halfon belongs to a new generation of Latin American writers who, from the beginning, demonstrate an impeccable mastery of their craft, without any hesitation in the use of language. SERGIO RAMIREZ, former Vice President of Nicaragua and author of "Margarita, How Beautiful the Sea""

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About Eduardo Halfon

Eduardo Halfon was born in Guatemala City, moved to the United States at the age of ten, went to school in South Florida, studied Industrial Engineering at North Carolina State University, and then returned to Guatemala to teach literature for eight years at Universidad Francisco Marroquin. Named one of the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogota, he is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the prestigious Jose Maria de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel. He has published eleven previous books of fiction in Spanish. "The Polish Boxer," his first book to appear in English, was a "New York Times" Editors Choice selection and finalist for the International Latino Book Award. Halfon is currently the Harman Writer in Residence at Baruch College in New York and travels frequently between his homes in Nebraska and Guatemala."

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