The President

By Miguel Angel Asturias

Literary Fiction

I'd read this Latin American classic in Spanish years ago, but decided to read it again in English in order to share it with a broader audience. Although it was published before I was born, it’s relevant today, as it portrays the damaging psychological impact of a totalitarian government and the brutality it will go through to maintain power—a phenomenon all too real to Guatemalans today.

Much to my surprise, my Guatemalan wife had to read this when she was in seventh grade – something I wouldn’t recommend for today’s students in the U.S. even though it’s been translated into English. I was shocked when my wife informed me that she also had to memorize the first paragraph, which is a clear indicator that you’re in for an interesting literary journey.

Book reviewed by Mark D. Walker
United States