The Polish Boxer by Eduardo Halfon

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...the power of "The Polish Boxer" is that it is always rooted in the personal. It is deeply accessible, deeply moving...
-LA Times

Synopsis

"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 narrator—a Guatemalan literature professor and writer named Eduardo Halfon—pursues 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 Bogotá and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the prestigious José María 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.
 

About Eduardo Halfon

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Eduardo Halfon was born in Guatemala City, moved to the U.S. 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 Marroquín. Named one of 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 and has published ten previous books of fiction in Spanish. In 2011 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on continuing the story of The Polish Boxer, which is inspired by his own family history and is the first of his novels to be published in English. Halfon currently lives in Nebraska and travels frequently to Guatemala. In consultation with the author, The Polish Boxer was translated from the Spanish by an accomplished international team of five: Ollie Brock, Thomas Bunstead, Lisa Dillman, Daniel Hahn, and Anne McLean.
 
Published October 2, 2012 by Bellevue Literary Press. 189 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Polish Boxer
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Sheila Glaser on Dec 14 2012

As borders, physical and mental, are crossed and redrawn, the stories Eduardo tells us and tells himself are revealed to be not just partial but also fantastical, false.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Nicholas Lezard on Dec 04 2012

...Rakic's story is going to be repeated with another couple: and it is to Halfon's great credit that he does not belabour, or even draw our attention to, the comparison.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Nicholas Lezard on Dec 06 2012

The Polish Boxer is a book that picks away at the idea of belonging as though at a scab.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by David L. Ulin on Sep 30 2012

...the power of "The Polish Boxer" is that it is always rooted in the personal. It is deeply accessible, deeply moving...

Read Full Review of The Polish Boxer | See more reviews from LA Times

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